Finished! New Testament In a Year

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The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
– Matthew 1:1

This past year, we finished reading through the entire New Testament. When we first started out at the beginning of 2016, we didn’t realize it was a leap year (!), so we read the last chapter of Revelation on yesterday instead of today. As we did in 2015 when we read through the entire Bible, we blogged about our journey through the New Testament as well. From each passage that we read, we chose our favorite verse and also put thoughts down on what that passage was saying to us at that time.

In this particularly turbulent year of 2016 it was encouraging to read the words of Jesus again and be reminded that despite what is going on the world, in Christ there is peace because He has overcome. And because He has overcome, we have also overcome. Our hearts do not have to be troubled. We do not have to be afraid. Better things are ahead.

See below for the reading plan that we followed. And a big thanks to everyone who read with us and followed along. Continue reading

New Testament In a Year: December 30 – Revelation 22

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Revelation 22
(1-5) The River of Life
In the holy city of Jerusalem, there will be no sun because God will be the light. There will be no moon because it will never be night. And perhaps the reason there will be no sea is because the river of life will run through the city. Believers will see the face of God, have His name on their foreheads, and reign with Him forever and ever.

(6-21) Jesus Is Coming
Throughout the Old Testament, numerous predictions are made regarding the first coming of Jesus the Christ. At the beginning of the New Testament, those prophecies were fulfilled with Christ’s birth to Mary and Joseph. Now, at the end of the New Testament, a prediction is given regarding the second coming of Jesus the Christ. He is coming again, and He is coming soon. We can believe these last words of the Bible (and all of the words of the Bible) because they are words that come from God and all that He has ever said is trustworthy and true.

Christ’s invitation has not changed. To all, He says, “Come.”

To those who hear His words, He says, “Come.”

To the thirsty, He says, “Come.”

To the hungry, the tired, the broken, the destitute, He says, “Come.”

Come and be Mine, He says, and let Me be yours. Forever and ever.

Favorite verse: (17) 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 desires take the water of life without price.

New Testament In a Year: December 29 – Revelation 21

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Revelation 21
(1-8) The New Heaven and the New Earth
God makes all things new. I like to think of this as the second creation. There is a new heaven and a new earth, an earth without any sea.

Just as God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden at the beginning of time, God will once again walk with His people except this time He and us will walk together for all of eternity. We will be together forever. There will be no serpent (Satan) sneaking into the new heaven or around the new earth to deceive us into disobeying God. God will dwell in perfect harmony with us. We will be His people. And He will be our God. His finger will wipe away all tears. Every pain will be replaced with His peace. And death shall have no dominion over God’s domain. The past will pass away. The future will be now.

(9-27) The New Jerusalem
The name of the holy city, Jerusalem, is taken from the word “shalem” [Jeru-shalem] which is derived from the same root as the word “shalom” which means peace. So, Jerusalem means “city of peace” or “abode of peace.” The current city of Jerusalem and none of the cities which are in existence today – from New York to Paris to Tokyo to Rio – can be described as cities of peace. But at the end of time, when God makes all things new, Jerusalem will be both a holy city and a city of peace – as all of heaven and all of earth will also be. The holy city of Jerusalem will be filled with the glory of God and have the radiance of a rare jewel.

In the holy city of Jerusalem there is no temple (or church/house of worship) because God and His Son, the Lamb (Jesus the Christ), are the temple. There is no sun because the glory of God is its light and Christ is its lamp. There is no moon because it is never night there.

Favorite verse: (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

New Testament In a Year: December 28 – Revelation 20

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Revelation 20
(1-6) The Thousand Years
Satan, who has deceived and wrecked the souls of many people, is bound and thrown into a pit for a thousand years. He is not allowed to roam the earth and wreak havoc during this time. This shows that God has complete control over everything and everyone – even Satan! Because our world is full of much evil, it may appear as though Satan is powerful and able to do whatever he likes, but this is not the case. He is under God’s control and God uses his evil doings to bring about His good purposes.

During the thousand years that Satan is bound, dead believers will come back to life during the first resurrection and reign with Christ on earth. They will be priests of God and will never experience the second death of the lake of fire. This will be a time of peace and prosperity for all. Those who are not believers, will not come back to life until the thousand years are ended.

(7-10) The Defeat of Satan
After a thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his pit and allowed to return to earth where he will once again deceive many to follow him. Satan will gather an army so large that their number will be like the sand of the sea. They will surround believers and the beloved city of Jerusalem, preparing to fight against it, but they will not be successful. Fire will come down from Heaven and consume the army. Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire – finally defeated and forever tormented for his evil against God and against God’s creation.

(11-15) Judgment Before the Great White Throne
Everyone who ever lived on earth are judged for their deeds. Even the dead are resurrected to stand before the throne of God. If anyone’s name is not found in the book of life, they will be thrown into the lake of fire. Along with those who never believed in Christ, Death and Hades (hell itself) are also thrown into the lake of fire and forever tormented.

Favorite verse: (6) Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

New Testament In a Year: December 27 – Revelation 19

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Revelation 19
(1-5) Rejoicing in Heaven
While nonbelievers mourn over the fall of Babylon on earth, believers in Heaven rejoice. They praise God for His salvation, glory and power; for His true and just judgments; and for His righteous vengeance against those who have killed His servants and saints.

(6-10) The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
The Lamb of God (Jesus the Christ) is finally married to His bride, the church. The saved and the Savior, the redeemed and the Redeemer become one. The wedding dress of the Lamb’s church bride are the righteous deeds and good works of the saints. Believers rejoice and give God glory because He reigns over both Heaven and earth.

(11-21) The Rider on a White Horse
This Scripture passage gives imagery of Jesus the Christ that is both powerful and glorious. He is called Faithful and True because He is faithful and true. He judges and makes war in righteousness, not with evil intentions. One day, He will return to earth having all power and rule the nations with a rod of iron. Everyone will know then that He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Even with this knowledge, the beast and the false prophet and the kings of the earth will gather to fight against Christ and the army of Heaven. The beast and the false prophet will be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire, and the others will be slain by the sword.

Favorite verse: (11) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

Women of the Word: Noadiah

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Around 445/444 B.C., a remnant of Jews who were in Judah were suffering from low morale because the city of Jerusalem had been torn down and no one had the strength or mind to rebuild it. The city still had a temple, but all the walls around the city had been torn down. Jerusalem had no protection from enemy attacks. During this time, a man named Nehemiah, was cup-bearer to the king of Persia, who was called Artaxerxes. (We learned about Artaxerxes’ supportive queen wife in an earlier post.) When Nehemiah heard about the sad state of affairs in Jerusalem, he asked King Artaxerxes for permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city. King Artaxerxes let him do so, even providing him with timber from his own forest.

So, Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem, rallied the people, and in a few weeks they had the walls around Jerusalem rebuilt, giving the city protection from their enemies. However, Nehemiah and those who worked with him, were not without opposition while they worked. They were repeatedly harassed and opposed by two enemies in particular, Tobiah and Sanballat. Also in league with Tobiah and Sanballat was a woman named Noadiah. She was a prophetess.

Thankfully, Nehemiah did not allow himself to be distracted by Tobiah, Sanballat or Noadiah. He simply remained focused on God. Nehemiah 6:14 says that he prayed:

Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.

Nehemiah’s prayer reveals the way in which Noadiah tried to get him to stop his good work. Continue reading

New Testament In a Year: December 26 – Revelation 18

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Revelation 18
(1-24) The Fall of Babylon
Babylon is declared fallen and is now a place where only unclean and detestable things dwell. Because of the great amount of immorality that has taken place there, many have become rich off of sin, and Babylon is judged and destroyed by God.

Believers who are living in Babylon are told to leave unless they get caught up in her sins and immorality and thus her punishment. Even today, God is calling us to come out of that which is ungodly and not like Him. We are not to identify with darkness, but light.

Those who became rich because of Babylon, mourn her fall, but they will be too fearful of her torment to help her. However, the saints and all those who believe in Christ rejoice over the fall of Babylon because God’s judgment against her is just. Babylon will be completely destroyed. No people, no light, no joy will be found in Babylon anymore.

Favorite verse: (4) Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.”

Jesus’ Birth from a Dog’s Perspective

Here is a short story that the little sister, Danyelle, wrote for Christmas. Enjoy!

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The shining stars twinkled down on the stable in Bethlehem.

But, look! Another star shone, much bigger and brighter.

Below in the stable, crowded with sheep and lowing oxen, a shepherd’s dog lay by the door, ears perked to the cries of a woman giving birth.

Is she in pain? the dog thought.

Little did he know, he was witnessing the Greatest Thing! In an instant, a beautiful Little Baby Boy was in the woman’s arms. But Mary, His mother, knew He was not Little. He was LARGER THAN LIFE. HE WAS LIFE!

“A Baby! A Baby!” The dog leapt up and ran in circles. He’d only seen his master’s baby girl before. But this Lovely Baby created him. This Baby Boy created the bright star, set in the sky. He created Mary, Joseph, the sheep, the shepherds and the wise men.

HIS NAME IS JESUS. THE SON OF GOD.