December 27, 2015

2 Chronicles 29-31
Hezekiah became king when he was 25 years old and was king for 29 years.  In God’s opinion, he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David....

In the first month of the first year of his reign....Hezekiah assembled the priest and Levites in the court of the Temple and told them to consecrate themselves and the Temple...”I have decided to make a covenant with the God of Israel and turn history around so that God will no longer be angry with his us.”....They began the temple cleaning on the first day of the first month and by the eighth day they had worked their way out to the porch---eight days it took them to clean and consecrate the Temple itself, and in eight more days they had finished with the entire Temple complex.... 

Then Hezekiah got all the leaders of the city together and marched to the Temple of God....Hezekiah then made this response: “The dedication is complete-- you’re consecrated to God.  Come forward and bring your sacrifices and Thank-Offerings to The Temple of God.”  And come they did...Hezekiah and the congregation celebrated: God had established a firm foundation for the lives of the people -- and so quickly!  

Then Hezekiah invited all of Israel and Judah...to come to The Temple of God in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to Israel’s God....The invitation read, “O Israelites! Come back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, so that he can return to you who have survived the predations of the kings of Assyria.  Don’t repeat the sins of your ancestors who turned their backs on God, the God of their ancestors who then brought them to ruin --you can see the ruins all around you.  Don’t be pigheaded as your ancestors were.  Clasp God’s outstretched hand.  Come to his Temple of holy worship, consecrated for all time.  Serve God, your God.  You’ll no longer be in danger of his hot anger.  If you come back to God your captive relatives and children will be treated compassionately and allowed to come home.  Your God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you --come back and he’ll welcome you with open arms.”....

So the couriers set out,....but the people poked fun of them, treated them as a joke.  But not all: some from Asher, Manasseh, and Jebulun weren’t too proud to accept the invitation and come to Jerusalem.  It was better in Judah---God worked powerfully among them to make it unanimous, responding to the orders sent out by the king, orders backed by the word of God.  It turned out that there was a tremendous crowd of people when the time came in the second month to celebrate the Passover....The priests and the Levites weren’t ready; but now, embarrassed in their laziness, they consecrated themselves and brought offerings to The Temple of God....Because so many in the congregation had not prepared themselves by consecration and so were not qualified, the Levites took charge so that the sacrifices would be properly consecrated to God...

Hezekiah prayed for those who had not prepared themselves adequately as follows: “May God who is all good, pardon and forgive everyone who sincerely desires God, the God of our ancestors.  Even -- especially! ---these who do not meet the literal conditions state for access to the Temple.”  God responded to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people....When the feast and festival.....were over, the tables cleared and the floors swept, they all decided to keep going for another seven days.  So they kept on celebrating, and as joyfully as they began...

After the Passover, they all took off for the cities of Judah and smashed false gods and provide an overabundance of offerings....Hezekiah then ordered storerooms to be prepared in the Temple of God...Faithful support out in the cities was provided...they were evenhanded in their distributions to their coworkers....Hezekiah carried out this work and kept it up everywhere in Judah.  He was the very best---good, right and true before his God.  Everything he took up, whether it had to do with worship in God’s temple or the carrying out of God’s laws and commandments, he did well in a spirit of prayerful worship.  He was a great success.

Revelations 20 -  
I saw an angel descending out of Heaven.  He carried the key to the Abyss and a chain...He grabbed the Dragon...chained him up for a thousand years , dumped him into the Abyss.  ...After that he has to be let loose briefly.

I saw thrones.  Those put in charge of judgment sat on the thrones...When the thousand years are up, Satan will be let loose from his cell and will launch again his old work of deceiving the nations, searching out victims in every nook and cranny of earth...The Devil though, who deceived them will be hurled into Lake Fire and Brimstone, joining the Beast and the False Prophet, the three in torment around the clock for ages without end.

I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned.  Nothing could stand before or against the presence...And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there--before the Throne.  And books were opened.  

Then another Book was opened: the Book of LIfe.  The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived... Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived...Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.