December 26

Ezekiel 47:1,9,12 (NIV) 1The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar.

9Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.

12Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."

There are two popular interpretations for this passage. In the coming Kingdom of God upon the earth, there will literally be a river that springs up from under the threshold of the temple We could say that the course of this river, defined so clearly in this passage, is an indication of its literal fulfillment. What a change that would make to Israel! The Jordan today is a muddy little creek. The Dead Sea level drops every year. The people were always dependent upon God bringing the rains early and late in the year. It was a part of their struggle between Jehovah and Baal. Baal was said to be the god of rain. Their survival depended on rain. In this coming day, there will be an abundance of provision. This is extraordinary water! It brings life wherever it goes. Trees on those shores bear fruit every month. Fisherman cast nets in it and harvest an abundance of fish. The Dead Sea will no longer be salt water. In that day, there will no longer be a struggle for provision for the people of God. There will be abundance.

We could also look at this passage in a figurative sense. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the temple of living stones. Out from Him flows the Living Water. He told the woman at the well that she should ask Him for this amazing water. Wherever the water goes it does bring life! It brought life to her. It brought life to her village. Jesus probably took this route from Jerusalem to Jericho, after leaving one of the feasts in Jerusalem. Remember the man that was healed with the mud made from spit? He first said that he saw men walking as trees. Those who drink of the River of Life do bear fruit on a regular basis, because the water of the sanctuary flows to them. Their leaves are for the healing of the nations. What a description of lifestyle evangelism!

Consider: What is your fruit?

December 26

Revelation 2:7 and portions of 11,17,26,28,3:5,12,21 (NIV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God...will not be hurt at all by the second death... I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new namewritten on it, known only to him who receives it...I will give authority over the nations– I will also give him the morning dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels...I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name...I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

These promises come at the end of Jesus Christ's letters to the churches of Asia Minor. They are made to those who overcome the compromises Jesus outlined in the letters. Most of the churches had areas of weakness or compromise that needed to change, just as each of us has.

If Jesus were to write you a letter, what compromises would He point out? He encourages you to overcome, and promises that if you do, you will receive the above promises to overcomers.

Meditation: Would you take a moment to let the Holy Spirit search your heart and point out the areas that need to change? Then, go back and read the promises to those who overcome. It may seems that it would not be worth the effort or the cost to make those changes, but when you read the promises, you will find it is more than worth any cost. Don't be anything less than an overcomer!