Malachi 1:1-2:17, Revelation 21:1-27, Psalms 149:1-9, Proverbs 31:10-24
Today is the 30th day of December welcome to the Daily Audio Bible, I am Brian it is…it is a joy and an honor to be here with you today as we gather around the Global Campfire for the last couple of days of this year. And the Global Campfire’s not going anywhere. January 1st we just start over and go on a new adventure. But we’re down to the last couple of days of the adventure that we are currently on. So, we set sail a long time ago and now land is not only in sight. We can see where we’re gonna dock and the journey of this year is nearly complete. But we do have some territory to cover before we get there. And that leads us to the final book that we’re going to encounter this year, that being the book of Malachi.
Introduction to the book of Malachi:
Malachi is the 12th out of 12 minor prophets. The name Malachi means my messenger. And, so, there have been scholarly debates about whether the title of this book is the name of the author Malachi, or whether it’s a book titled “my messenger”. We’ll assume that the author was a prophet of God, named Malachi. And don’t know almost anything about Malachi. What we do know is in the book of Malachi, he was likely a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah. And remember going through Ezra and Nehemiah, the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. And, so, this would be the time period that we’re moving into. Malachi lived about 100 years after the Persian Empire defeated the Babylonian empire who had defeated the kingdom of Judah and carried…well…and destroyed Jerusalem and carried everyone into exile. The Persian Empire began to let Hebrew exiles go back to their homeland, and it had been more than 50 years since the temple construction got underway under the prophetic voices of Haggai and Zechariah. But all the promises in those prophecies, the promises of restoration and the future prominence for the land were not fulfilled. The people were in their homeland, their ancestral homeland, but the…the glory of who they once were had not returned to them. And, so, they just existed as a tiny province of the Persian Empire, distant and discouraged. And because of that discouragement the people’s passion for God was also discouraged, which brought on moral and spiritual decline. Like, one of the things we find in Malachi is that sacrifices that were offered to God, they were supposed to be spotless and without blemish but the priests had begun to use the blind animals and blemished animals for sacrifice and the law was becoming more and more irrelevant as a part of their culture. And, so into this comes the voice of Malachi who was probably the final prophet in the Old Testament age and he came rebuking the doubting faithlessness of the people. And like so many of the other prophets that we’ve heard so many times inviting them to return to the Lord. Malachi will obviously lead us to the end of the year. It is the final book in what we call the Old Testament. And after his words, it would be another four hundred years before a prophetic voice emerged again and that prophetic voice had a name, John, a person that we know of as John the Baptist who we’ll be meeting again in the new year in just a few days. But after Malachi four centuries pass before he emerges and the arrival of Jesus. And, so, with that, we have talked about all the different books of the Bible we’ve kinda flown over them as we prepared to read them. The is last time we get to do that this year. Now, let’s dive into this final book that we get to encounter, Malachi. And today we’ll read chapters 1 and 2.
Father, we thank You for Your word and we thank You for 364 days consecutively together around a Global Campfire moving through the Scriptures allowing Your word to wash into our lives opening our hearts to You and allowing You to do the transformative work inside of us that we could never do for ourselves. We thank You for the ways that You have shifted our thinking, the ways that You have challenged our behavior, the ways that You have comforted us, the ways that You have been patient, which are beyond number. We thank You for Your mercy. We are grateful. We ask once again, as we have asked so many times that by the power of Your Holy Spirit, You would plant what we’ve read into the soil of our hearts, that in due season it will yield a crop and that that would be the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, and that it would be bountiful, that we would be giving it away everywhere. Come Holy Spirit, we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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And if you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible here in the last couple of days of the year, thank you profoundly, thank you humbly. We would not be here if we were not in this together. And, so, thank you deeply that we are. We are here around the Global Campfire taking the next step forward each and every day. And, so, if that has been meaningful to you there is a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you’re using the app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner, or the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you year tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Merry Christmas DAB family it’s Lisa calling from the West Coast. Thank you so much for all your prayers. My back health journey has taken a twist. It turns out I have cancer. So, that was pretty surprising. But to be honest it’s been pretty interesting. I think everything that I’ve learned from God over the last few years has really prepared me to be where I am. I’ve really just had a sense of peace from the beginning of my diagnosis, and I just really feel like God is telling me to really make sure I go out into the world and shine my light and His light. And, so, I wanna make sure that I’m using this time to bring others to God. Yesterday I had my first procedure and I just decided to wear, like a fun festive outfit and to cheer up all the doctors, nurses, and techs and everyone there. I had to be there basically around the holiday, and it was just the best experience. I just met amazing people and we had such a great time and I never would have expected that a scary procedure would be something that would be so positive not just for me but for other people. And it’s also just been amazing. My friends have been already really helpful with…with my back injury, you know, driving me places and helping me get groceries and lift things. And, so, now that it’s cancer it’s just been incredible. My friends have just come together, and I feel like…I just feel so loved. So, I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for anyone else who’s going through any kind of cancer diagnosis or any other health scares, just that God sees you and God helps you just feel a sense of peace in this time. Merry Christmas.
Hi Deb this is God’s Life Speaker I’m going to read from Brian’s epilogue in the daily devotional the God of Your Story. He writes, I don’t believe I have a final word in mind as we end our time together but I do have some final thoughts. We can now see that the Bible has given us a beginning and an end. In the process that has touched every soft spot and every stony place in our hearts. We can look in the mirror and truly understand how profoundly and humbly the Bible has come to guide us in the last year. If you’ve embraced journaling we’ve written quite a story and God has been involved in it more than ever. It is my earnest prayer that the dance you’ve begun with the scriptures continues for the rest of your life. You’ve proven that you can do it and you are not the same person you were a year ago because of it. Imagine what another year in the scriptures will do. Consider joining me along with 10s of thousands of your brothers and sisters around the world for the journey all over again on the Daily Audio Bible. One last thought, benedictions appear throughout the Bible, and this is Brian’s benediction. I’m going to skip down to it. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He lift His countenance upon you and give you peace. May the strength of God go with you. May the wisdom of God instruct you. May the hand of God protect you. May the word of God direct you. May you be sealed in Christ this day and forevermore. Amen. Lord God, You know our hearts, You know each story. You have heard the beautiful Christmas party and Lord we pray that we can begin again together on the 1st of this coming year, so Lord I pray a blessing over each of the DABbers. Thank you, Brian and your entire family, and we just pray that You would be magnified Lord in each of our lives in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Hey family this is One Penny Saved from southwest Missouri, and I was just listening to Sneezing Jesus by Brian Hardin on Audible, and it just dawned on me that I need to encourage everyone to look into that to get Audible and download Sneezing Jesus and reframe. It would be great gifts. But I want to say that I have listened to this for so long at nighttime. And, so, that’s why when Brian made this Sleep album it was just such an incredible miracle to me because listening to Brian’s voice for like 15 years every single day of my life reading God’s word just brought such peace to me. And, so, I wanted to hear that at night, but I couldn’t. You know, Daily audio Bible doesn’t play through without stopping. So, I remembered the…the Audible books and I started listening to them and I just wanted you to know that you should listen to Sneezing Jesus. This time of year would be the greatest time because, as I said, this community has grown, it’s so obvious that we are today’s church. We are the church and Sneezing Jesus just opens your mind up to a new beautiful place and I’ve listened to it so many times and I will never stop listening. And I love you Brian for giving us the Sleep album. I gotta go. Love you guys. Merry Christmas. Happy new year.
Hey DAB family this is Gift of God calling on Christmas morning. Lord I’m calling for prayer Lord for my son Dorian. It’s Christmas and I haven’t been able to sleep. I got a call from Florida. He’s been arrested on Christmas morning hallucinating because he’d gotten a hold of some mushrooms or something that they’re doing now, some stuff. And I pray… Would you all pray with me? Pray for me rather and pray for him that he find salvation. I really do need this prayer. And I do not want my 2023 year to come in with him being locked up. And I knew you guys…you’re my family. I can call on you and I know you will pray for me and pray for him. His name is Dorian. Thank you.
Hi DAB family this is Laura in Colorado and I did not get a chance to call in a Christmas greeting but today is Christmas Day and I’ve been able to hear all of your wonderful voices driving home from a shift at the hospital where I’ll sleep and go back and do it all again. But it’s just so wonderful to hear your voices today on Christmas Day. And as we come to the end of another year, this is my third year finishing. On January 1st I’ll start my 4th year, which I can’t believe and how much I’ve just grown to love this community and the rhythm that that Brian brings to life of walking us through days and weeks and months and eventually years. And now starting to feel the rhythm of just, you know, what part of the year we listen to that part of the book and getting used to hearing Revelations through…through December as Brian was talking about. And this is kind of a bittersweet week. It’s like we’re coming to an end and then we get to start a beginning and it’s very exciting and I look forward to doing that with all of you. I’m also the nurse who’s been trying to adopt the abandoned baby from our NICU and I just wanted to let you know that she’s still with us. She’s with us for Christmas and some…some biological family has surfaced and we’re not really sure what will happen there. If you would just please continue to pray. We call her Anna. I realize I’ve never left a name. But we call her Anna and that God’s will just be done in her life, that if she’s meant to be with us that God will make away. And we know that you are all so faithful to pray. So, Merry Christmas…
Hello, my name is Miranda, and I live in the UK. I’m currently visiting my dear mother in Australia. I’ve been listening to the Daily Audio Bible for a year and it has been very transformational and essential to my everyday life. Thank you so so much all involved including the people who call in with their prayer requests. I’m so encouraged, so much so that I built up the courage to reach out for myself on this occasion. The Lord has called me to do ministry work and he called me during the time where I felt so very close to Him and I wanted to be obedient. __. I’m struggling with issues with anger that I’ve had to…to deal with all my life. I am…it…it’s an anger that I’ve inherited from my father, and it impacts my marriage greatly and all my relationships and my day-to-day life. And I feel…I…I just feel so vulnerable and unable to…unable to be loving. I know that I can, I have been in the past, but I feel so disabled by this anger that just __ up within me. And I’m so concerned for the relationships around me. The people that I love, the people that I’m closest to seem to bear the brunt of it. So, I’m reaching out for prayer because I hear so many wonderful results from your faithful prayers and I’m trusting that when you lift me up, if you will kindly do so, that the Lord will address this issue. Thank you so very much. God bless.
Deep dive into the book of Revelation:
Okay, so it’s no secret that tomorrow is the last day of the year. So, obviously we have come down to the final readings in the Bible, which means we have also come down to the final readings in the book of Revelation that we’ve been diving into this year. And in today’s reading we kind of turn the corner. What began as seven letters to seven churches turned into seven trumpets and seven bowls. And we spent a lot of time with a lot of disruption, and we’ve looked at many views from many angles that eventually led us to the…the great white throne of God and the final judgment and we passed through that yesterday in our reading. Now we get a picture of all things being made new and the imagery is riveting. And as we’ve gone through the book of Revelation we’ve looked figuratively, and we’ve looked literally in an attempt simply to get behind all of the things that have been said about the book of Revelation to try to get insight on what’s being said. So, we have to look at all things being made new from the same perspective as we prepare to end the book of Revelation and the Bible. So, let’s look literally at what we read today while doing what we’ve been doing all along, asking ourselves is this literal, this a literal thing that’s being said or is this a figurative thing that’s being said that represents something bigger that can…that can be said. So, after the great white throne judgment that we read about yesterday, we are greeted with the fact that a new heaven and a new earth have appeared. So, when you stop and think about that literally, a new heaven and a new earth, which would tell us that our ultimate destination is earth. Just apparently not this one. In the new earth there is no sea. The sea was gone. So, clearly that would be a very different earth. What we don’t know is if John is referring to like the Mediterranean Sea will be gone and how would that work. But if we just assume there are no oceans than a very different earth. And on this new earth John sees the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth dressed like a bride ready for her husband. And a loud voice from the throne said, “God lives with humans. God will make His home with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God and He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there won’t be anymore death and there won’t be any more grief or crying or pain, because the first things have disappeared.” So, on this new earth that has no oceans God plans to actually dwell with people. And this is happening, the one sitting on the throne says, “I’m making everything new. I’m the first and the last. I’m the beginning and the end. And I’ll give a drink from the fountain filled with the water of life to anyone who is thirsty. It’s not gonna cost anything. Everyone who wins the victory will inherit these things. I’ll be there God. They’ll be my children.” And then he says, you know, cowardly, unfaithful, detestable…all of the people that have been judged earlier they don't…they don’t get to go into this new rest. And then continuing literally, one of the seven angels that had one of the seven bowls that were poured out on the earth at the end with the seven plagues came to John and said, “come, I’m going to show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And, so, John is carried by the angels power to a high mountain where he sees this new holy city, Jerusalem, coming from God out of heaven. And it’s obviously ornate with gates and jewels and angels and inscriptions. The names of the 12 tribes of Israel are on the 12 gates. There are 12 foundations and each foundation has the name of one of the 12 apostles of the Lamb written on it and it’s coming down from heaven to earth and it gets measured and it’s…it's…it’s a cube, it’s a big cube coming down out of heaven that is at cubed city coming down-to-earth and it’s measured…and its measurements are 12,000 stadia long, wide, and high. And 12,000 stadia equates to about 1600 miles or almost 2600 km. And, so, from literal perspective somehow this will work. The atmosphere of this new earth must be different because on the earth that we currently live on, I mean, if we just get 60 miles up we’re kind of in outer space. So, 1600 miles tall would be way out there in outer space. And the Angel is telling John that this 1600-mile cube coming out of the sky down-to-earth is the bride. And there is no temple in this…this new city because God himself and the Lamb are the temple and the city doesn’t need any exterior light like the sun or the moon because the glory of God illuminates it. And apparently because it has gates you can go in and out of it and…and Revelation says, “the nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. So, you can go in and out of it or at least some people can. And its gates never close. It’s opened all day. They…they don’t close because there isn’t any more night. So, it never gets dark outside. And everyone who would pass through the…the great judgment, their names…their…their names were found in the book of life, the Lamb’s book of life will be able to go into the city. So, that’s kind of a literal…literal look at what we read today. If we’re looking at this figuratively then there are a plethora of nuances. But indeed, a new heaven and a new earth are established. But this doesn’t necessarily mean different planets to the idea of first and second or old and new are used throughout the Bible. So, if you have an old covenant, a new covenant, a first Adam, a second Adam or language like the latter will be greater than the former. This is usually indicating the impermanence of the first and the permanence of the second. So, this second earth, this new earth certainly could be at a different planet, but from a figurative perspective, it would be a restored one, one in which evil does not exist, where pollution is gone, where corrupt political systems of governance do not exist, one in which the presence of God is immediate and tangible. Basically, an existence that is restored to shalom where nothing is broken and nothing is lost, all has been restored to perfection, there are no more goodbyes, one in which death does not exist and God wipes every tear from our eyes, one in which there is no grief or crying or pain, because those things do not exist anymore. This picture comes from the book of Isaiah, where it is said there will be a new heaven and new earth, and they will by no means remember the former. So, looking at that figuratively, the struggle to survive in a dark world while trying to remain true to Jesus unto death, that's…that’s over. That will never happen again. But when we did read about this new earth, literally, we found that it has no sea. So, there are no oceans. From a figurative view scholars just simply look at how this the sea was referenced in the rest of the book. So, it was seen as the origin of cosmic evil. It was referenced as the place of the unbelieving rebellious nations who attack and try to stamp out God’s people. It was referenced as the place of the dead. It was referenced as the seat of the world’s idolatry and evil trade activity. So, figuratively those things aren’t…aren’t a part of this new earth. So, sticking with this figurative view of the sea, then that means that on this new earth there’s no longer a threat from Satan or darkness or evil. Those have been permanently judged. They can never be a part of the new creation. And there won’t be any threat from a political, or corrupt, rebellious nations. They've…they’ve suffered the same fate is the devil. There won’t be any more death. So, there is no reason to have a place of the dead. And even the fear of the ocean itself as kind of a dark, murky, unpredictable place will be over. And this new city has 12 gates, each named after one of the 12 tribes of Israel with the foundation having 12 foundations, each having the names of the apostles, which would figuratively basically represent the completeness of God’s redemptive plan, that all who are within this city are essentially the true Israel, which is not an ethnic thing. And it’s not the structure itself, this 1600 mile cube that is going to somehow…this cube that isn’t alive is going to somehow become a bride. It's…it’s everyone within that sphere, and this is thought to be true because…because God uses marriage as a metaphor for his covenant with His people all throughout the Bible, even in devastatingly heartbreaking ways. So, God is probably not interested in being in a covenant relationship with a…with a literal structure. Rather, He wants union with his people - loyalty, allegiance and perfect intimacy. And God saying that He is the Alpha and Omega, you know, isn’t the Lord saying that He is two letters in an alphabet. It is to say that He is the beginning and the end, right? So, we see that very clearly as a figure of speech, so figuratively. But He’s saying as a way of reassurance, that He called creation into being at the beginning and has remained sovereign so we can be assured that all things will be made new because He is the beginning and end of it all. And those who win the victory or those who overcome or are overcomers will inherit all of this. And as we’ve seen from one of the main themes of this book that we’ve talked about several times over, an overcomer is the one who endures through whatever, until the end. And what we inherit is union and communion with God and all of the essentials that we need for an abundant life in His family are available. And it’s been pointed out that the look of this new Jerusalem, the way that is constructed with all of the precious stones remarkably parallels the description of the great whore of Babylon, right? So, on the one hand, John was told, I will show you the judgment of the great horror. And then he’s told, come, I will show you the bride. So, figuratively throughout this book Babylon was the dark, evil world system consolidated into a city name. So, those who look at this figuratively would say the same thing is happening here. One was an attempt to dominate and demand worship and it was full of the world’s people who went along with that. The other is true and is full of those who remained true. And we talked about that a lot when…when we were talking about the judgment of Babylon. But in terms of looking at this new city, figuratively and not as a structure, the illusions go to other parts of the Scripture that are…that are used figuratively. For example, when Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone that the builders rejected. I don’t think anybody thinks Jesus is a…is a piece of rock, is a stone. That would be figurative language. Or when Peter says in his first letter that we as believers are precious living stones. We can…we can take that figuratively pretty easily because no one thinks that their destiny ultimately is to become a stone. And, so, that’s why these things are seen figuratively in terms of this new city. And there won’t be a temple in this new city. So, if this city isn’t about the structure of the city, but about the people within it, then perhaps there isn’t a third temple to be built. But that is hotly debated. But figuratively the temple always represented the presence of God. Before there was a temple there was a tabernacle that represented the presence of God. So, in this new creation there’s no need for that. The presence of God is everywhere and is not hindered or impeded in any way. And what about the dimensions of this new city. I mean outside, it’s like 1600 hundred miles. It’s like 1500 or 1600 miles, I think 7 million feet tall. So, obviously an amazing structure. But in Revelation it’s described as 12,000 stadia. And the number 12 is symbolic throughout the Bible. So, there’s 12 tribes of Israel. There’s 12 apostles. In this new city there’s 12 angels at 12 gates. Earlier in Revelation there were 12,000 people from 12 tribes of Israel that made up 144,000. There were 12 precious stones in the breastplate of the priest. And we could go on and on. Many scholars affirm that the number 12 is a number signifying authority and completeness. So, when applied figuratively to the new Jerusalem it would represent the entire family of God, as opposed to a cubed city. So, there are a couple of ways of looking at what we’ve read today. And as with everything that we’ve talked about in the book of Revelation this is just the tip of the iceberg. But man, man, no matter whether this is literal or figurative or whatever this is gonna look like this is the unimpeded presence of God with no distractions in a world where evil does not exist and perfect union with God is completely normal. It’s a picture of how things were always supposed to be for us and it’s a promise that all things will be made new. And if there’s one thing that I’m certain of in my life it is that I want to be there. I want to stay true. I want to see all this and I'm…I’m sure in the end it will be completely different than I might imagine, or that any of us might imagine, but what I want more than anything is that first moment of pure ecstasy of the full presence of God, followed by the awareness that it never ends. Don’t you? And we can all be there. We can all overcome. And we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. We get there by realizing that the end of what we think we know isn’t the end of anything. It is only the beginning.
Father, we thank you for these pictures that describe what is beyond comprehension. We take the book of Revelation for what it is, a promise. And we invite her Holy Spirit to come seal us in Christ, that we might endure whatever comes our way, whatever time we are in. Come Holy Spirit we pray in Jesus name. Amen.