Zechariah 9:1-17, Revelations 17:1-18, Psalms 145:1-21, Proverbs 30:32
Today is the 26th day of December, the day after Christmas. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and some time to relax and rest. And I hope this new day finds you refreshed as we take the next step forward toward the end of the year. Obviously, that’s in sight, which means that we are getting ourselves pretty close to the final pages of the Bible. Today, we’ll read from the Gods Word translation, which is what we’re doing this week. Zechariah, chapter 9 verses 1 through 17.
Okay. So, we have a little bit of catching up to do in the book of Revelation since we last talked about this on Christmas Eve. And at that point I said we’re going to begin zooming out toward more major themes because we’ve spent a lot of time kind of going right into the nitty-gritty and seeing that there are, like, it’s pretty clear now, there are lots of ways that people have looked at the book of Revelation and interpreted the book of Revelation. So, I think we’ve honored that. But we’re going to stick with the major themes and only kind of zoom in if we run into things that have been highly contentious throughout church history. So, the last time we talked about this we were in the process of setting up what looked like clear parallels to the book of Exodus to the plagues that God sent upon Egypt that ultimately destroyed Egypt because it hardened itself against what God was doing in judging them for not allowing his people to leave. So, yesterday when we read the portion from Revelation we saw that happen. There were seven angels with seven bowls that were poured out upon the earth causing plagues. And again, if you read this from a literal perspective, then, there’s no…I mean…it's…it’s literally there. For example, the first angel poured out his bowl on the land and ugly, festering sores broke on the people who had the mark of the beast. But truly most scholars end up in the allegorical or figurative reading and come down somewhere in the vicinity of this - this plague parallels the Egyptian plague of boils. And from an allegorical point of view, is are probably not blisters or some kind of sores that are that are represented physically, they probably represent torment, anxiety, all the kind of psychological torment that we’ve talked about previously. And a great unrest that then hardens the people, like Egypt, bringing about the second and third bowls that are poured out on the sea in water. And from a literal perspective, the sea turns into blood, like a dead person, and everything in the sea died. And the third bowl was poured out on the rivers and the springs of water and they became blood. And we’ve already seen imagery like this back when the trumpets were blowing. When the second trumpet blew something similar happened, the sea became blood, 30 living creatures in the sea died. This time it’s not a partial thing. This time when the bowls are poured out it’s a total thing. So, the parallels are striking very, very clear. Most scholars would agree, the second trumpet and this second bowl represent the same kind of judgment. One was partial. The other was total. From a literal view, we’ve already looked at what that would look like, we just read it. From an allegorical view, this would be a judgment that will probably bring about famine, will probably make destitute those who make their living in water, and because this judgment is total, it will wreak havoc on the world’s food supply and the world’s water supply. And then the angel in charge of the waters declares that this is just and right and then the altar in heaven responds accordingly. And many people have drawn parallels that this is God’s way of declaring that He has multiple grounds for doing what He’s doing. And the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun. The sun was allowed to scorch people with fire and they were seared and they cursed God and refused to repent and glorify Him in a very similar fashion to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. So, this could certainly mean that something in the atmosphere, something in the weather, something is going to change. And by the way, I should insert here that it it’s not clear, like, these happen day after day after day or month after month after month or even year after year after year. We don’t know how long it takes for these things to happen and proliferate and cause their desired results. So, like we don’t know if these things take seven seconds to pour out these seven bowls or they take, you know, seven days, seven months, seven years, seven hundred years, we don’t know. From an allegorical view, one way of looking at this is that, the patterns that everyone is used to working and operating within is disrupted. And this scorching heat is a metaphor for how difficult things are becoming, things that people put their security in, especially economically, aren’t working. And metaphorically it’s scorching people. Or this could be a view that this change, that’s happening either in the atmosphere or economically, is bringing about famine, the food supply is touched. And this comes from Deuteronomy, where it’s explained that the people who break the covenant will be consumed by burning heat. And this is linked to being wasted by famine and all of the economic implications of a mass worldwide famine. But again, there’s only a hardening of the heart, bringing about the fifth Angel pouring out his bowl on the throne of the beast and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. And a similar plague fell upon Egypt from the book of Exodus chapter 10. So, in this plague, the throne of the beast itself is attacked and affected by this plague of darkness. Whether you’re looking at the beast as an embodied person that becomes kind of this dominant figure or whether it’s the whole world system that is consolidating its power together and claiming everyone within its realm to be its property. Everything is plunged into darkness. So, if you want take kind of more of a futurist literal view, then something happens with the power or something like that. Things are plunged into darkness. But allegorically, and truly the majority of scholarship on this would say, this this darkness is confusion. And people are thrown into darkness because of what is happening and is very, very confusing. They’re gnawing their tongues, they’re in pain, they’re suffering this torment from the other plagues. They’re so deeply affected and things have become so unsettled that the foundation of the world system is becoming unstable. Then the sixth bowl was poured out on the great Euphrates and its water was dried up, preparing the way for the kings from the east. So, from an allegorical perspective, you have some allusions here to the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. But there are also prophecies in the Old Testament about the great Euphrates being dried up, prophecies from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah. And this actually happened. When the Persians went to war with the Babylonians and defeated Babylon, one of the ways that they did it was to divert the Euphrates, which then allowed King Cyrus to cross the river and unexpectedly invade and defeat Babylon. And that victory by Cyrus led to Israel’s release from their exile, their Babylonian exile. So, because this literally happened, many people think, okay, this Euphrates rivers in Iraq and Syria, and Turkey. Lots of soft going on. This is a real thing. This is going to really happen at some point in this process. At the same time, we’ve seen many references to Babylon. We’ve talked about the association with the Roman empire and why according to the time that John wrote this. We’ve also spoken allegorically about Babylon as the entire system that will come together to dominate the people that are opposed to God, the people who belong to the beast, in other words. And the reason that we’re bringing this up at all, at least at this point, is because of what comes next. Three evil spirits that look like frogs come out of the mouth, one each out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. All things that we’ve looked at previously, both literally and allegorically. And they’re responding to these plagues by performing signs, not unlike the magicians of Pharaoh in the plague story in the book of Exodus. And in response they perform signs and gather the kings of the whole world to go to battle on the great day of God and they draw everybody together to this place called Armageddon. And, of course, this image of frogs falls in line with the Exodus plagues as well. And some commentators have pointed out that this imagery was probably used because frogs croak. Right? So, they can be very noisy and loud and croaking, but it doesn’t mean anything. So, in response to these plagues they go out, they perform signs, they’re croaking, and there’s so much confusion happening. The people are in darkness, confusion is everywhere, things are coming apart at the seams, and everything comes to this place called Armageddon, or Har Megiddo, the mount or mountain of Megiddo. And Megiddo is an ancient city that sat at ancient crossroads. And its ruins still exist to today. I’ve been there many times. I’ve looked out over this valley that’s called Armageddon many times. There’s no mountain there though. Probably the nearest thing that could be called a mountain would be Mount Carmel. And as big as the valley might be, it’s not big enough for all of the armies of the world. So, we kind of get into some divergent thought because Armageddon, I mean, everybody’s heard of Armageddon. So, there’s all kinds of thought about it. And this is one of the places that we flip, often, from an allegorical or figurative view into a literal one. So, obviously, a literal view is somewhere…it’s not really a mountain…but somewhere around Megiddo, somewhere around Armageddon, this is all going to go down. Others would say, well, Old Testament prophecies of this sort, without exception, like, this kind of final battle idea, always takes place somewhere near Jerusalem. And with a futurist view, yeah, I mean, if you’re an airplane, Megiddo or Armageddon isn’t far from Jerusalem, but if you had to walk, like, if you were in John’s time, it would be like a two day journey. So, some would still can’t keep a literal view that this can happen, but Armageddon only plays part, like, it’s only one location in a sprawling war, while others would take a more figurative view, you know, just like Babylon. Babylon, the city, the ancient city of Babylon, has been in ruins for thousands of years. So, this must be at an allegorical view. Or the Euphrates River has been looked at allegorically for a long time. So, this must be an allegorical view. Same with Armageddon. This is not necessarily pinpointing a geographical location. It more allegorically represents the coming together of a disintegrating world system that subsequently, in part, destroys itself, which brings us to the seventh Angel pouring out the seventh bowl that is the seventh plague. And it’s thrown into the air and a loud voice from the throne says, it is done. This definitely has allusions to Jesus saying, it is accomplished or it is finished. And whether you are, like, from that point on, from verse 18 on, whether you are reading literally, or whether you are reading allegorically and figuratively, things go berserk. And that’s where we ended our reading yesterday.
In today’s reading, one of the angels who had one of the seven bowls, so one of the angels who poured out a plague came and talked to John and took him away in the spirit in order to show him what was happening to, what is known as, the whore of Babylon as all of this is taking place. And we can read this figuratively for a couple of reasons. One, John is caught up into the spirit. So, whatever he is seeing, whatever vision he is seeing, is a spiritual one, but also because the angel explains to John what the symbols represent. So, John sees a woman sitting upon a beast in the desert. She is ornately and seductively clothed. And she was drunk, but she was drunk on the blood of God’s holy people, those who had stayed pure, who had stayed true, who kept their light burning, who kept their witness in the world. And John was astonished. But the angel said why are you astonished? Let me tell you what this all means. And he says, the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the abyss and go to its destruction. And it’s been pointed out that this is probably a parody or a mockery of the beast. So, we’re very familiar with how this would be said of God, the One who was, the One who is, the One who is yet to come in. And in this case the beast is, the one who once was, who now is not, and yet will come up out of the abyss to go to its destruction. Right? So, the one who has been trying to make himself God, who has been trying all along to elevate himself above God, cannot and will not prevail. So, on the one hand when you look at this more literally and say that this is what will happen to Satan. More figuratively, we can say this is what will happen to the entire system of evil that exists in the world, with the devil simply being the personification of all evil, because the angel then goes on to describe kings and kingdoms, little and small, who have been and are still coming and will all find the same destiny. We’re not going to get into all that because it would take way, way, way, too much time because there’ve been so many associations with, you know, who these kingdoms, these kings, these powerful kings, these smaller kings, who this all could be. And I don’t want to wander into even well-thought-out conjecture. What happens though, is that the beast and the 10 horns, likely representing a very powerful faction of this, the world system of evil, that demands worship from its people in ownership of its people is falling apart. Because John is told that the beast will hate the prostitute. So, the beast will hate the whore of Babylon. So, this world system of religion and politics and economics and military is coming apart. The beast with the 10 horns hates the prostitute and they bring her to ruin and leave her naked and eat her and burn her with fire. So, they destroy that aspect of their own kingdom. The plagues have done the work of cracking the foundations and the entire system of evil is coming apart. And that is where we end up today.
Father, we thank You, we thank You, we thank You for Your word and we thank You for the time that we had to celebrate Your arrival, the beginning of all of this yesterday. And as we press in to finish this year well and to finish this year strong, we invite Your Holy Spirit to continue to speak to us through Your word. And we ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
dailyaudibiible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find what’s going on around here. There’s been plenty of things. It’s been…I’ve been, like, pulling my hair out for the last couple of weeks. There’ve been so many things that are happening.
The brand-new Daily Audio Bible app is available. And it is available free on the Google Play store and in your Apple App store. And it’s been exciting to hear from so many of you who are now using the new app. If you have the old app, you might want to consider updating to the new app, because the old app will begin to be phased out over than the next little bit. All you have to do is go to your app store, whether Google Play or Apple App store and search for “Daily Audio Bible mobile app”. That’s the new one. Because we have a couple of them, so, just want to make sure you get the right one – “Daily Audio Bible mobile app”. If you use the Daily Audio Bible web player then you’re already using the new one and your set to go. So, make sure you get the new app. Get it installed. Get going. Get ready for the new year. Tell all of your friends they can download it for free and go through it with you. And this is an exciting time.
And we’re also getting ready to launch Daily Audio Bible Chronological. And we talked about it, what, about a week ago with China when she came on. That will begin January 1st. But those channels are in the new app, in the new web player, all set to go. So, I guess, the long and short of the story is make sure you download the new app.
Also, want to remind you about the More Gathering for women, which is our annual women’s conference that takes in April. Early registration for that lasts until the end of the year. So, take advantage of that if you plan to come. Hope you do. You can find out all about that moregathering.com. Or just go to dailyaudiobible.com and go to the Initiatives section and you’ll find everything you want to know.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible here as we approach the final days of the year, then, like I always say, thank you. And I always say that because that’s true. We do what we do together. Thank you for your partnership. There’s is a link on the homepage and dailyaudiobible.com. If you’re using the new Daily Audio Bible app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or, if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174. And if you want to be able to receive a receipt for that giving in the year 2017 then that would have to be postmarked or received by the 31st of December.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi Daily Audio Bible family. This is Mimi in Atlanta. I just want to ask for prayer. Jay from New Jersey was praying for reconciliation for my family years ago. He called in and told me that he was praying. And I’m hoping he’s listening because he’s been struggling. And Jay you’re still being prayed for, but I just want you to know that mountains are being moved. Rick is the dad. Joshua and Nathan are the two sons that are grown that have just struggled terribly with reconciling and forgiving and walking in newness after their stepdad passed in 2013. They’re just struggling and the Lord is moving and doing amazing things. So, I just want to let Jay know that you’re still being prayed for and to know that your prayers are being answered Jay. Each one of us as we’re praying for one another, it’s huge what happens. I’m hearing everybody call in and giving praise reports. Blind Tony…oh my gosh…you started my morning. Your voice is heaven in my heart. And yes, Victoria. S., she…y’all just…y’all just go to those places when you pray and when you bring your gifts because we’re having to learn to walk by faith, which is not site. So, Tony, you’re helping us come along to the deeper places of life. And your prayers are just amazing, your heart for all of us. Viola, I’m missing you too. Ladies, I’ve signed up for More Gathering. Hello!!! I think I may have been, like, one of the first ones. I told you all last year that I was going to do that and I’ve done it. So, by faith, I’m trusting God and I’m just throwing it out there, I have a house, if you come to Atlanta and you need to stay, it’s right here just an hour from Sharp Top mountain. So, thank you all so much. Blind Tony you are a blessing.
Hi. This is Kathy from San Diego. And I just heard one of the callers talking about, I believe it’s Tony from Toledo, a woman who received the call about the death of her 21-year-old son due to an overdose. And I just want to let her know that I completely understand. I lost my son a little over a year ago. Got that same call. And I’m just here to say that God is gracious and He’ll carry you through and that I will pray for you and that He will lift you up. When we get to where we’ve never been before and the grief that is this great, all you can do is be carried by God and I pray right now for Tony and her family, for the grace of God that surpasses everything she’s ever known will lift her up to see her through, and day by day, she will walk with faith, and she will feel blind and she will feel loss and pain and she will find out one of the greatest truths that you can only find out through experience and that is, and He is with you still. And I ask that God, holy God, You would show Your compassion and Your comfort and give her the wisdom she needs. Her family and everyone around her Lord, I just ask that You would be glorified, that there is good that will come one day, and she just has to hang on, and she will find out that You are the best all-inclusive God that takes it all into consideration, and especially when we don’t understand. And so, Tony, I am with you in spirit as so many others are and I just pray that you will hold on and that God will provide you everything you need. Amen.
Hi Daily Audio Bible family. It’s James R. the Teacher Redeemed…the Whatever in LA. I’m just calling to say thank you for all your prayers for myself and my wife for me getting done with loads and loads of work at the end of a semester for my teaching and my classes I’m taking and my wife for the end of her pregnancy. We now have a brand new beautiful daughter, 8 lbs., 3 oz. on December 17th and we literally had about 3 hours warning from the beginning of labor to the time that that little beauty just popped out. Yeah. Feeling your prayers guys. Everything lined up so perfectly. Thank you so much. Love you guys and if you know me on Facebook, if you see me on Facebook DAB Friends, you can see all sorts of pictures. Love you guys. Bye.
Hi. I’m calling in for Nony, She’s a 15 year old girl is a first time caller and has just started listening to the Daily Audio Bible. Nony, I just want to encourage you that you are not alone. You do have us. We are your friends, we are your family. My name is Rayna, I live in Los Angeles California and the journey that you are about to take is amazing. Don’t turn back. Stay focused. I can’t even tell you what this app, the Daily Audio Bible family has done for me. And I’m just so excited for you and I will keep you in prayer. And again, you are not alone in this journey. You have all of us here. And there’s so many. I am so thankful and God bless you Nony, wherever you are. Stay focused and just enjoy this journey. It’s beautiful. Jesus loves you. We all love you. God, bless. And I love all my Daily Audio Bible family, by the way. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Brian, for your ministry.