Category Archives: Second Coming of Christ

JEHOVAH is God. (Psalm 83)

Scripture reading – Psalm 83, 2 Kings 1

Our Scripture reading brings us today to Psalm 83, and 2 Kings 1. This is the first of two devotionals, and the focus is Psalm 83.

Psalm 83 is titled, “A Song or Psalm of Asaph.”

Psalm 83 is the last of the psalms attributed to Asaph, the Levite who was one of the principal musicians in David’s era. The exact date of Psalm 83 is not given; however, it is prophetic for a time when God’s people would face a confederation of nations committed to the destruction of Israel as a nation. Consider three principal points from the psalm.

Israel’s Desperate Cry to God (83:1-8)

Facing a coalition of nations dedicated to the destruction of Israel, the psalmist cried to the LORD to come to the aid of His people (83:1). The author reasoned with the LORD that Israel’s enemies were the enemies of God, and they hated Him, and had plotted against those referred to as, “thy hidden ones” (literally, those whom the LORD treasured as His Own, 83:3). The enemies had boasted, and encouraged one another saying, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (83:4). They were not content to merely overcome Israel, they desired to annihilate them as a people, that their names would be forgotten (83:4b-5).

Ten heathen nations comprised the confederation that plotted Israel’s destruction: The Edomites (the sons of Esau), Ishmaelites (son of Abraham by Hagar), Moabites (descended from Lot), Hagarenes (a tribe of Ishmaelites named after Hagar), Gebal (a Phoenician, Lebanese people), Ammonites (a son of Lot), Amaelikites, Philistines, citizens of Tyre, and the Assyrians (identified as Assur, 83:8-8).

The Imprecatory Prayer of the Psalmist (83:9-17)

Having identified the enemies of God and Israel, the psalmist prayed for the LORD to destroy them as He had come to Israel’s aid in ancient times (83:9-11). The enemies of Israel had boasted they would raid and plunder “the houses of God” (i.e. the Tabernacle, and its Ark of the Covenant, 83:12), and the psalmist prayed the LORD would utterly destroy them (83:13-17).

He prayed the LORD would crush the enemy, as a wheel grinds grain, and that the enemy would become nothing more than “stubble” carried away by the wind (83:13). He longed to see the LORD burn the enemy in His wrath, as a fire destroys a forest (83:14). He desired God would confound the enemies of Israel, and they would suffer shame till they all perished (83:15-17).

Why this prayer for troubles to be inflicted upon the enemies of the LORD? (83:18)

It was not only so that Israel would see the LORD’S deliverance, but that the heathen would know there is one God, JEHOVAH [Yahweh; the Eternal, Self-existent God of Israel], Who is “the most high over all the earth” (83:18).

Closing thoughts – The existence of Israel in our day, is an undeniable testimony of Jehovah, the God of Israel, and His covenant promises with the people of Abraham’s lineage and faith. While all other ancient civilizations have passed from the stage of history, one has been preserved—Israel.

The nation we know today as Israel is a secular one, and many who live there are far from being a people of faith who love the LORD, and keep His laws and commandments. Yet, there are Hebrew people who also live there, who look for the day the Messiah will return as He has promised–Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, crucified, buried, raised from the dead, and coming again as He has promised!

Acts 1:11b – “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

An End of the Year Greeting, and Invitation to Follow www.HeartofAShepherd

Today, December 31, 2021, is a crossroads, and halfway point in our two-year chronological devotional study of the Scriptures.

2021 – An End of the Year Report

Today’s devotional commentary is the 365th of 2021, and a milestone for me. A year ago, I purposed to provide my church family a daily study of the Scriptures, and it has been a joy to minister to both Hillsdale Baptist Church, and guests from around the world.

My personal study has taken us, from the Book of Genesis through the Book of Job, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), and the era of the Judges. We studied the life of King David, meditated on his Psalms, and pondered the wisdom of Solomon in his Proverbs. As we come to the end of 2021, we are in the midst of the post-Davidic era, and a study of the historical books of the Bible that include 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.

2022 – The Year Ahead

Tomorrow is January 1, 2022, and the beginning of a New Year. If you have not done so, I invite you to print a copy of the Scripture reading schedule, fold it in quarters, and tuck it inside your Bible as a book mark and daily reminder to read God’s Word.

The days, weeks, and months ahead will present us with an opportunity to continue our chronological study of the Scriptures. My devotional commentaries are intended to guide you through the books of the Major and Minor Prophets, follow Israel’s tragic descent into Assyrian captivity, and Judah’s years of captivity in Babylon following the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. We will journey through the post-exilic years, and rejoice in the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Before 2022 has passed, we will consider the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our LORD, and follow the principles and precepts of the writings of the apostles. As the LORD blesses, 2022 will conclude with a prophetic study of the Book of Revelation.

A Parting Challenge

Discipline, determination, and dedication are required of those who will complete this two-year journey through the Scriptures. I pray there will be many who might aspire to the apostle Paul’s challenge to Timothy: 15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

To insure you receive daily reminders and devotional posts, please subscribe to www.HeartofAShepherd.com.

With the heart of a shepherd,

Travis D. Smith

Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith

The LORD Who is Holy, Hears and Answers Prayers (Psalm 99)

Scripture reading – Psalm 99

The focus on the LORD’s Second Coming, and His reign on the earth continues in Psalm 99 (a topic that is the subject of Psalms 93-100). The psalms were, as the name implied, songs of worship and praise to the LORD. They have been cherished by sincere believers for millennia, and continue to be the focus of worship, prayer, praise, and meditations on the LORD. Some psalms commemorate special events in Israel’s history, and many are deeply personal for their authors. Especially in the life of King David, we have been granted an audience into his genuinely moving times of sorrow and joy, conviction and repentance, distress and thanksgiving. Those themes continue to resonate in the hearts of believers 3,000 years later.

Psalm 99

I suggest Psalm 99 be considered with four major themes.

The LORD Reigneth. (99:1)

The psalm commences with an incontrovertible truth: “The LORD reigneth” (99:1a). That statement is the foundation of all that follows in the psalm. The LORD is King of heaven and earth, and Sovereign of creation. The people of the earth should tremble with fear and reverence (99:1b). The LORD sitting “between the cherubims,” reminds us of the Ark of God, and its Mercy Seat upon which two cherubim were fashioned, representing God’s heavenly throne in the Tabernacle (99:1c; Exodus 25:18-22).

The LORD is Great. (99:2-5)

Consider the majesty of God: “The LORD is great in Zion” (the mount upon which Jerusalem is built, and where He will reign during His millennial kingdom, 99:2a). He is above all nations and people (99:2b). His name is “great and terrible; for it is holy” (99:3). The name of the LORD is holy, and it is not to be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7). The LORD is mighty, and “loveth judgment” (99:4a). He is just, fair, honest, and righteous (99:4b). He is holy, and there is none like Him. Let all who believe, exalt the LORD, and fall at his feet (99:5).

The LORD is to Be Adored for What He has Done (99:6-9)

While the focus of the first five verses has been upon the LORD’S person, Psalm 99:6-9 turned the focus of worshippers to what the LORD has done.

Three examples of men who worshipped, obeyed, and served the LORD are given. Moses and Aaron are identified as priests, and named with them was the prophet Samuel, all whom called upon the LORD, “and He answered them” (99:6).

The LORD “spake unto them (Moses and Aaron) in the cloudy pillar: They kept his testimonies [laws and commandments], and the ordinance [statutes] that he gave them” (99:7). The “cloudy pillar” (Exodus 33:9-10; Nehemiah 9:12) was a visible reminder of the LORD’S presence with Israel when the people wandered in the wilderness forty years. We are reminded that God is both merciful and just, for Moses and Aaron faced the consequences of their sins, and were not permitted to enter the Promise Land (99:8).

“The LORD our God is Holy.” (99:9)

Psalm 99 concludes with an exhortation to all who love the LORD: “9Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill [Zion; the setting of the Temple and sacrifices]; For the Lord our God is holy” (99:9).

Closing thoughts – Private and congregational worship is to be a central focus of all believers. The LORD is holy, and yet He loves us in spite of our sins and failures.

Aaron murmured against Moses, and fashioned a golden calf when the people rebelled (Exodus 32:4, 8, 19), and yet, he “called upon the LORD, and He answered” him (99:6). Moses disobeyed the LORD, and struck the rock in anger when the people were thirsty (Numbers 20:2-12), and though his sin prevented him from entering Canaan, the LORD forgave him (99:6, 8).

Isn’t it comforting to know, in spite of your failures, the LORD hears and answers prayers? Why? He is our God!

Is He your God?

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith

“Joy to the World, the LORD is Come!” (Psalm 97; Psalm 98)

Scripture reading – Psalm 97; Psalm 98

Today’s Scripture readings, Psalm 97 and Psalm 98, have a prophetic application. I suggest that both of the psalms are depictions of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 97 – The LORD on His Throne (97:1-6)

Psalm 97 opens with the LORD reigning as King, and the inhabitants of the earth rejoicing (97:1). Christ is presented in His majesty, and His judgment is described as one of righteousness and judgment (97:2).  He is  just, and holy, for “fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about” (97:3). The earth trembles, and nothing can stand in His “presence” (literally, the person), for God is holy (97:4-5). Indeed, “the heavens declare [God’s] righteousness, and all the people see his glory” (97:6).

The Shame and Confusion of the Heathen (97:7)

When Christ reigns, the heathen who have worshipped and served “graven images” will find their idols are not gods at all. They are, in the words of the psalmist, “The work of men’s hands. 16They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths” (Psalm 135:15-17).

The Rejoicing of the Saints of God (97:8-9)

When the people of Zion (i.e., Jerusalem), hear how the heathen have been confounded and put to shame, they will be glad and Judah will rejoice (97:8). There is none like the LORD, for He is exalted, “high above all the earth… [and] above all gods” (97:9).

The Righteous and God’s Blessings (97:10-12)

How do the righteous prove their love for the LORD? They “hate evil” (97:10a), the evil way, and the path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). They love the LORD, and keep their feet far from wickedness.

Because God loves the righteous, He preserves them (guards; watches over). Though the righteous find themselves hated, and even persecuted, the LORD will in the end save the righteous “out of the hand of the wicked” (97:10). To the righteous, the LORD gives light, and He rejoices the heart (97:11-12).

Psalm 98 – “Sing unto the LORD a New Song”

Psalm 98, like Psalm 97, is a reflection on the Second Coming of Christ, and inspired Isaac Watts’ memorable hymn, “Joy to the World” (although sung at services reflecting on Christ’s birth, it is in fact a celebration of Christ’s Second Coming). Psalm 98 is an invitation to believers to worship the LORD in song, and rejoice in His salvation and righteousness (98:2).

First Stanza: “Sing unto the LORD a new song” (98:1-3)

What is this “new song?” It is a song of victory, and praise to the LORD for His strength and power (98:1-2a). It is a song of redemption, and a praise to God for His grace (98:2b). It is a song of rejoicing that the LORD is faithful, and He had not forgotten Israel (98:3).

Second Stanza: A Call to all Nations to Worship the LORD (98:4-6)

The musicians in the Temple were Levites, and were trained, skilled, and dedicated musicians. The sound of their voices and instruments was not noise (98:4), but an energetic expression in music and song. The “joyful noise” and the “loud noise” was a “shout,” or cry or triumph (98:4, 6).

The music of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, was not meant to entertain the congregation. The focus of the music was the LORD, and His holiness was reflected in both the message (words) and the music. Accompanied on string instruments (the harp, vs. 5) and wind instruments (trumpets and coronet, vs. 6), the focus of worship was “the LORD, the King” (98:6).

Third and Final Stanza: A Call to Creation to Worship the LORD (98:7-9)

Only when creation is freed from the curse of sin, and the LORD ushers in His millennial kingdom, will all creation rejoice (98:7-8). Romans 8:18-25 reveals the devastating effect man’s sin has had upon creation, and the world will not be delivered “from the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21) until the Second Coming of Christ.

Closing thoughts – Violent storms, earthquakes, and yes, pandemics, remind us that “creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Romans 8:22). When Christ comes again, He will right the wrongs, and judge the earth in His righteousness (98:9). Think about that the next time you sing:

“Joy to the World, the LORD is Come!”

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith

Sing Unto the LORD! (Psalm 89; Psalm 96)

Scripture reading – Psalm 89; Psalm 96

Music has always been a central part of worshipping the LORD.  Had you been privileged to visit the Temple, you would have heard singers and musicians leading the congregation of Israel in worship. Their lives were dedicated to singing, playing, and composing songs of praise. Reading the psalms, you come to realize the deep, personal relationship the writers had with their subject…the LORD! Psalm 89 and Psalm 96 call upon the congregation to sing, sing unto the LORD!

Psalm 89 – The Person and Attributes of God

Psalm 89 was composed by “Ethan the Ezrahite,” and some scholars suggest he was also known as Jeduthun, a musician of David’s era. We can be certain he was a Levite, and his composition would have been sung in worship in the Temple. Time and space do not permit a thorough study of Psalm 89; however, I invite you to consider a few of God’s attributes detailed in the psalm.

A Call to Worship the LORD (Psalm 89:1-4)

God is merciful and faithful (89:1-2), and His promises never fail (89:3).

Divine Attributes (Psalm 89:5-18)

God is incomparable (Psalm 89:6-8), and He is to be feared and revered (89:7). He is strong and faithful (89:8). He is the Sovereign in nature, and the seas obey His will (89:9; Matthew 8:24-27). He is Sovereign of the nations, and He rules the “sea” of nations (89:10).

God is the Creator, and the mountains rejoice at His name (89:11-12). He is just, merciful, and to be trusted (89:14). He is righteous (89:16), and our protector (89:18). The LORD is “the Holy One of Israel, [and He] is our King (89:18).

God is Faithful, and No Promise of His Ever Fails. (89:19-52)

The LORD keeps covenant with His people, and He never forgets His promises (89:19-25). He is “my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation” (89:26). He is merciful (89:28), and just; and those who break His Covenant will not go unpunished (89:26-32). He is holy, and cannot lie (89:35). He is a righteous Judge, and sin will not go unpunished (89:38-45). He is just, and in Him is life, purpose, mercy, and forgiveness (89:46-51). He is worthy of praise, for He is “LORD for evermore” – eternal, perpetual, everlasting God (89:52).

Psalms 96 – “O SING unto the LORD a New Song!”

Psalm 96 is an evangelistic psalm of praise, a universal invitation to “all the earth” to worship and sing praises unto the LORD (96:1). Three times the psalmist invites worshippers to sing:  “1O sing unto the Lord a new song: Sing unto the Lord, all the earth. 2Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; Shew forth his salvation from day to day” (96:1-2).

What was this “new song?”  (96:1-2)

I believe it was a song of salvation, a song of redemption; and an invitation to all who worship the LORD to “shew forth His salvation” (96:2). The psalmist invites God’s people to, “Declare His glory among the heathen [all non-Hebrew people]” (96:3).

Not only are we to “sing unto the LORD,” we are also exhorted to “Give unto the LORD” (96:7-8). The psalm opened with a trifecta invitation to “Sing,” and now there is a triplicate invitation to Give: Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. 8Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts” (96:7–8).

The evangelistic thrust of Psalm 96 continued with an invitation to “worship the LORD” (96:9). Sincere worship acknowledges the holiness of God, and those who worship Him, fear and revere Him (96:9). We who worship the LORD are to declare to “the heathen that the Lord reigneth…and He shall judge the people righteously” (96:10).

Psalm 96 concludes with a doxology, reminding us the sin Adam thrust upon the world, the curse of sin, and its effect upon nature has been “that the whole creation groaneth [sorrows] and travaileth [agonizes] in pain [i.e. pangs of death]” (Romans 8:22).

However, the psalmist foresaw a day when there would be rejoicing in nature: “the heavens…the earth…the sea…the field… [and] the trees of the wood [will] rejoice (96:11-12). What was the cause for rejoicing in nature? When the LORD comes to “judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the people with his truth” (96:13).

Are you ready for His coming?

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith

The Creator, and King of Glory, Is He Your Lord? (Psalm 24)

Scripture reading – Psalm 24

Psalm 24 was written by David. Consisting of only ten verses, it has inspired many great hymns and anthems. [The brackets within the verses contain amplifications by this author.]

God is the Sovereign of His Creation (24:1-2)

Stated emphatically, and with no ambiguity in the opening verses of Psalm 24, is the truth that God is Creator, possessor, sovereign, and sustainer of His creation.

Psalm 24:1-2 – “The earth is the LORD’S [Jehovah; Eternal God], and the fulness [all it contains] thereof; the world [inhabitants], and they that dwell [inhabit; abide] therein. 2  For he [the LORD] hath founded [laid the foundation] it upon the seas, and established [prepared; erected] it upon the floods [waters; streams].”

The LORD is Eternal God, and the Creator of all things, and “without Him was not anything, made that was made” (John 1:3). As Creator, He is owner of the earth’s resources, and all that inhabits it. He has set the boundaries of the sea and the dry land (24:2). He is the Sustainer. Because the LORD is Sovereign, David asked:

What Manner of Man Might Draw Nigh unto the God of Heaven? (24:3)

Psalm 24:3 – “Who shall ascend [come up; scale] into the hill [mountain] of the LORD? or who shall stand [arise; rise] in his holy [hallowed; sacred] place?”

Can anyone merit the favor of God, or be worthy to enter into His presence? Might a rich man earn good standing with God by donating to charity, and giving his riches to help the poor? Does fasting, praying, worshipping, or showing kindness to another give one entrance into the presence of the LORD?

David listed four characteristics of the man who may enter the presence of the LORD.  (24:4)

Psalm 24:4 – “He that hath clean [innocent; guiltless; blameless] hands, and a pure [clear; innocent] heart [mind]; who hath not lifted up [removed] his soul [life; person] unto vanity [lying; deceit], nor sworn [taken an oath] deceitfully [fraud; i.e. lacking integrity].”

A man must have “clean hands” to enter into the LORD’S presence (24:4a). How might a man acquire “clean hands,” before a holy God? A comparable question was asked and answered in Psalm 119:9, where we read: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” 1 John 1:9reminds us the way to be cleansed is to “confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For a man to have “clean hands,” he must heed God’s Word, and confess his sins.

No man enters into the LORD’S holy place unless he has a “pure heart(pure in heart, thoughts, and motives, 24:4b). The man who enters the “holy place” cannot be like the Pharisees, who thought by portraying outward piety, their prayers would be heard, and answered (Matthew 23:25-28). The LORD, knowing the hearts of men, condemned the Pharisees saying, “Ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28).

The man who enters God’s presence must also guard his soul from the “vanity” of the world (24:4c). What is the “vanity” of the world? It is the pleasures, sins, and philosophy of the world that promises much, but never satisfies the heart. The rich man boasted to himself that bigger barns and more goods would satisfy his soul (Luke 12:16-18). Beguiled by riches, he had failed to plan for God’s judgment, and “God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20).

A man who enters the presence of the LORD must also have integrity, and he will not swear deceitfully (24:4d). The saints of God are honest and truthful. They are conscious of the Lord’s presence, and they will not cheat, lie, or swear falsely. They are not bound by a contract, but by a consciousness of God’s holiness.

David promised a twofold reward to them who seek the LORD. (24:5-6)

Psalm 24:5 – “He shall receive [accept] the blessing [prosperity] from the LORD, and righteousness [rightness; justice] from the God [i.e. Almighty God] of his salvation.”

When a man seeks the LORD with “clean hands,” a “pure heart,” guards his heart from vanity, and walks with integrity, he is promised “the blessing from the LORD” (24:5a), and declared righteous and just in His sight. David declared on behalf of all Israel, “This is the generation [age; people] of them that seek [follow; worship] him[the LORD], that seek [seek out; require; desire] thy face [the LORD’S countenance and face]  O Jacob [Tribes of Israel]. Selah [pause]” (24:6).

Hail to the King of Glory! (24:7-10)

The coming Messiah, the “King of glory,” is the subject of Psalm 24:7-10. Five times the LORD is identified as the “King of glory.” Who is this “King of glory?” He is the LORD, the “LORD of hosts” (24:8, 10).

In ancient times, the city gates were where private and governmental business was transacted.  The elders, and the king’s ambassadors, sat in judgment at the gates. Beginning with the elders, and chief leaders of the city, David commanded the people to hail the coming of the “King of glory” (24:7).

Psalm 24:7 – “Lift up [hold up] your heads, O ye gates [gates of the city of Jerusalem]; and be ye lift up [men who sat in the gates], ye everlasting [perpetual; ancient] doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”

Who was this “King of glory?” He was “the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal God] strong [mighty; powerful]and mighty [heroic; warrior], the LORD mighty in battle [war; combat; warfare]” (24:8). A thousand years after Psalm 24 was composed, Jerusalem celebrated Jesus’ entrance into the city, and identified Him as the “the Son of David,” and therefore heir to the throne. Within that same week, those same voices cried against Jesus, “Let Him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22-23; 1 Corinthians 2:8).

Closing thoughts – Perhaps that is the reason David announced, not once, but twice for the “gates” (24:7, 9) to lift up their heads and hail the coming of the “King of glory” (24:9-10). The world rejected Jesus when He came the first time; however, all nations will be forced to hail His Second Coming.

Psalm 24:9–109Lift up your heads, O ye gates; Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in. 10Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Hail to the King, the LORD of heaven’s armies, for He is the King of glory!

Revelation 1:77Behold, he [Christ] cometh with [in the] clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him [on the Cross]: and all kindreds [people and nations] of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Are you ready for His coming?

With the heart of a shepherd,

HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith

Where is Your Citizenship? (Psalm 87)

Scripture reading – Psalm 87

The title of Psalm 87 is “A Psalm or Song for the Sons of Korah.” Who were the “sons of Korah?” They were of the priestly tribe of Levi, and descended from of the lineage of Kohath, one of three sons of Levi (the other being Gershon and Merari). The Kohathites duties were sacred, for they were assigned the care of the Tabernacle furnishings, including the Ark, the lampstand, tables, altar, and the curtains.

Psalm 87 is one of a number of psalms assigned to the “sons of Korah,” who not only served as musicians for worship, but became the guards or gatekeepers of the Tabernacle in David’s day (1 Chronicles 9:19-21). The time or occasion of the psalm is not known; however, I believe it had prophetic implications.

The focus of the psalm is Zion (87:2), the mountain range where Jerusalem and the Temple were built. We read, the LORD laid the “foundation” for worship on the mountains of Zion, and it was the place He loved “more than all the dwellings of Jacob” (87:2). Of Zion, the city of Jerusalem, we read, “3Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah” (87:3).

I believe the glory of Jerusalem was not only that it was the place of worship for Israel, but will prophetically become the place of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,” where Christ will reign (Revelation 21:2-3).

Various nations are mentioned in Psalm 87:4, and it is noted that men would boast of the city of their birth. One man would boast he had been born in Rahab (Egypt, Isaiah 30:7), another in Babylon. Other men would boast that Philistia, Tyre, or Ethiopia was their place of birth (87:4).

Sincere believers, those who have been born again by faith (John 3:3, 16), will boast that they are the citizens of Zion, for the LORD, “the highest himself shall establish her [Jerusalem, the city of Zion]” (87:5). If you are a born again believer, you are a citizen of New Jerusalem by salvation! When “the Lord shall count [take the final census], when he writeth up the people [in His book], [it will be said of the children of God]this man was born there. Selah” (87:6).

With the final census taken (Revelation 20:12-14), and the judgment of those whose name was “not found written in the book of life” past (Revelation 20:15), new Jerusalem will “come down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:2). “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

What a great day that will be! Christ will sit upon His throne in Jerusalem, and “the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: All my springs [i.e. fountains of living water] are in thee” (87:7).

Friend, is your name written in “the book of life?” When the final census is taken, will you be able to say of Jerusalem where the LORD will reign, “I was born (again) there?” (87:6)

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith

You are Invited to Worship with Hillsdale Baptist Church as we Celebrate the Resurrection! (10:00 AM – EDT)

“He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:6)

* Heart of a Shepherd Devotional followers: Today’s Scripture Reading is Leviticus 20-21. However, because today is Resurrection Sunday, I have devoted today’s devotional post to the Cross, and the Resurrection; the central doctrine of the Scriptures. You are invited to join today’s worship broadcast, 10:00 AM (EDT) at www.HillsdaleBaptist.org.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the greatest event in history. His death, burial, and bodily resurrection is central to all that we believe and preach. The apostle Paul, in his letter to believers in Corinth, declared, “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Fulfilling the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures, the resurrection of Christ is the critical doctrine, the linchpin upon which the Christian faith rests, and is foundational to the Gospel we preach.

The resurrection is not only the hope of today’s believers (1 Corinthians 15:19-20), but was the expectation of the saints of ancient times. Job expressed his confidence of life beyond the grave in these words: “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come [renewal; release from the grave] (Job 14:14).

The psalmist expressed his conviction in the resurrection, writing, “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me” (Psalm 49:15). Christ revealed the ancient patriarchs, though dead, were alive: God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:32b).

The Resurrection of Christ is the blessed hope of every believer. While today is a memorial to our rejoicing in His resurrection, every Sunday we gather as a congregation is a testimony of our faith, “He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6).

Rejoicing in a risen Savior,

Travis D. Smith
Senior Pastor
www.HeartofAShepherd.com
https://tv.gab.com/channel/HeartofAShepherd1
https://mewe.com/p/heartofashepherdinc

A New Heaven, A New Earth, and A New Jerusalem (Revelations 21-22)

Scripture reading – Revelations 21-22

Today we come to the end of a journey that began 366 days ago (2020 was a leap year, meaning we were blessed last February with an added day, a phenomenal that occurs every four years). Today’s devotional commentary is a monumental milestone for me, as I fulfill a personal goal of writing a daily devotional commentary following a chronological schedule through the Scriptures.

As we come to Revelation 21, let us take a moment and reflect on the events that will come to pass before that chapter.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be observed (19:1-10), and will precede the triumphant Second Coming of Christ (19:11-18). The “beast” (antichrist), and the false prophet will be cast alive into the “lake of fire” (19:19-21). Satan will be chained, and cast into the “bottomless pit” (20:1) where he will be held a thousand years during the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth (20:2-6). When a thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed to wreak havoc on the earth until he is cast into “the lake of fire and brimstone” where he will be forever tormented (20:7-9).

A dreadful, eternal judgment will follow, as the dead who had rejected God’s gift of redemption made possible in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, will appear before The Great White Throne (20:11). Death, hell, and all unbelievers, “small and great [will] stand before God, and will face eternal judgment as they are condemned and “cast into the lake of fire” (20:10-15).

Revelation 21 – A New Heaven, A New Earth, and New Jerusalem

With sin no more, God reveals “a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (21:1). The apostle John witnessed “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (21:2). Suddenly, there was a “great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (21:3).

Comforted by the presence of God in their midst, John writes, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (21:4). Imagine, no sin, no sorrows, no sufferings, no sickness, and no death!

Much more could be considered in today’s Scripture reading, especially the wonderful description of New Jerusalem (21:9-22:2); however, I will save that great study for another time, and Lord willing, another year.

We began the year with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Today we conclude our year-long study being reminded of something we have seen throughout this year: The Grace of God. John writes,

Revelation 22:21 – “21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

Grace: Marvelous, matchless, unmerited. Songwriter Julia Johnston penned the hymn, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin,” writing:

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see his face,
will you this moment his grace receive?

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin!

P.S. You are invited to join me on January 1, 2021, and begin a Two-Year Chronological Bible Reading Schedule that will take you from Genesis to Revelation. 2_year_chronological_Bible_schedule_2021

I plan to continue writing, and publishing daily, devotional commentaries at www.HeartofAShepherd.com. It is a long journey, but it is well worth the effort, on both our parts.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

“KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelations 19-20)

Scripture reading – Revelations 19-20

Our Scripture reading brings us to future events that have captured the imagination of the saints of God for two millennia. The apostle John wrote in vivid detail the same prophetic scenes that the prophets Zephaniah and Zechariah had foretold would come to pass.

The events recorded in Revelation 19 follow the destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:1-8), whom we have seen was the symbol of all false religions, and the enemy of God and believers. John observes that the kings of the earth, and all the people, will be stunned when Babylon falls, and will mourn her sudden destruction (Revelation 18:9-20). Several remarkable events follow the destruction of Babylon.

Revelation 19

A scene of praise and worship begins, as the people of heaven begin saying, “Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore [Babylon], which did corrupt the earth with her fornication [false religions], and hath avenged the blood of his servants [believers] at her hand” (19:1-2).

Imagine the voices of all the redeemed, the saints of both the Old and New Testaments, and the martyrs of the Tribulation, all lifting their voices and shouting, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (19:6).

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19:7-10)

A heavenly wedding feast will follow as the Lamb, Jesus Christ the Son of God, takes His spiritual bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-27), as His wife (19:7). The church, who are the true believers, is described as a wife who has “made herself ready” for her groom (19:7). Her clothing portrays her preparation, for she is “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (19:8).

The Marriage Supper being ended, the stage is set for the next glorious event:

The Second Coming of Christ (19:11-16)

Christ is portrayed coming from heaven (19:11a), and riding upon a white horse (a symbol of victory, and spotless, sinless perfection). He rides under a war banner that bears His name: Faithful, for He is ever faithful to His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20); True, for He is true to His Word and will not lie (Titus 1:2). He is coming to judgethe earth in righteousness (19:11) and to make war against the antichrist and the nations that will assemble against Israel.

Christ will be accompanied by the armies of heaven (19:14), whom I imagine are the believers who were in attendance at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (notice they wear the same robes as those that were described at the feast, 19:8, 14). Christ is coming as a fierce warrior, and He will destroy the enemies of God and His saints (19:15-16).

The Battle of Armageddon (19:17-19)

I believe the host of heaven that accompany Christ, will not come to wage war themselves, but to witness the sudden destruction that will befall “the beast” (the antichrist), and “the kings of the earth and their armies” (19:19). Christ comes wearing the name written on His robes, “KING OF KING, AND LORD OF LORDS” (19:16).

The battle having been won, an angel summons carrion (flesh-eating birds) to the battleground to devour the carnage (the battlefield is described in Revelation 14:20 as “the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs,” or a spread of 200 miles). For more on the battle scene of Armageddon, go to Zephaniah 1:14-18 and Zechariah 14:1-13.

The Judgment of the Beast (Antichrist) and the False Prophet (19:19-21)

The battle having been won, the beast (antichrist), and his false prophet who had performed miracles to deceive the people, are both “cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (19:20). This is the dreadful place of judgment where all unbelievers, the demons, and the devil will eventually be judged for all eternity.  It is described as “a furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:42), “everlasting fire” (Matthew 18:8), and a place of “[torment] day and night for ever and ever” (20:10).

Lord willing, I will address the Millennial Reign of Christ (20:1-6), God’s final judgment of Satan (20:7-10), and the final judgment of unbelievers (20:11-15), in another year.

I close inviting you to search your heart, and make sure your salvation; trust Jesus Christ as your Savior before it is eternally too late (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Acts 16:30-31).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith