The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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December 24

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - Job 33

"I am just like you before God; I too have been taken from clay" (Job 33:6).

Elihu takes the place of God -- he is now the inspired bearer of His words (Job 32:8). He is the "daysman" (AV) or "someone to arbitrate", whom Job had sought (Job 9:33).

In v 23 he speaks of "an angel on his side as a mediator, one out of a thousand, to tell a man what is right for him."

Elihu understands the role of a mediator, and he uses words which are highly suggestive of Christ. Here is the intervention of a divine interpreter (Elihu... or, in later times, Christ) -- or messenger (Mal 3:1) to explain to the sufferer what his duty was, and how God might pardon him. This may be compared with Paul's letter to the Romans: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." and are now in need of a mediator -- which God alone can provide: Rom 3:23-26.

Reading 2 - Zec 9:9,10

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations" (Zec 9:9,10).

This is one of the most significant passages of all the Bible, as regards Messianic prophecy -- in both the Jewish and Christian traditions. Judaism sees in it a basis for a royal messianic expectation, whereas the New Testament and Christianity see a prophecy of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on the Sunday before his crucifixion (Mat 21:4,5; Mark 11:1-10; John 12:15). Thus, though the fulfillment may be in dispute, there is unanimous conviction that a descendant of David is depicted here, one who, though humble, rides as a victor into his capital city Jerusalem. The way will have been prepared by the imposition of universal peace, following which the king will exercise dominion over the whole world.

Reading 3 - Rev 7:16,17

"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Rev 7:16,17).

"Several of these phrases are derived -- with what appropriateness -- from a wonderful Messianic prophecy in Isa 49. The entire chapter should be studied. It travels in a comprehensive sweep from Jesus in Gethsemane, contemplating his life's work and effort apparently in ruins, to the glorious climax when he is able to rejoice in a vast multitude called out from Israel and the Gentiles to experience the marvels of God's gracious salvation.

"In the words: 'they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more,' is to be recognized the fulfilment of all that the Manna and the Smitten Rock foreshadowed in the wilderness (1Co 10:3,4) -- the fulfilment also of Christ's own promise: 'He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst' (John 6:35). Those hungering and thirsting after righteousness find full satisfaction at last. It is an appropriate return from him whom, all unknowing, they fed when he was hungry and to whom they gave the cup of cold water when he was athirst (Mat 25:35; 10:42).

"An interesting idea emerges from the words: 'neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.' This word 'heat' (in Isa 35:7: 'parched ground') Gesenius dogmatically translates: 'mirage'. There is marvellous appropriateness about this. The mirage of an oasis or pool leads the weary thirsty traveller on in hope. In the same way an anticipation of the nearness of the return of the Lord has buoyed up many a weary traveller to the Kingdom. What seemed so near in time has proved in fact to be remote. Many who thought to live to see the Kingdom established have gone to their sleep, some to a long, long sleep, but this prophecy in Revelation assures the faithful that the day surely comes when mirage will give place to reality, and faith to sight. And to make the assurance all the more emphatic, the phrase is introduced by a double negative: 'no, never shall the sun light on them, nor any heat' " (Harry Whittaker, "Revelation").

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