(Malachi 1-4; Revelation 22)
As I write this on the last day of December 2021, I stand amazed at God and humbled by what He has done. Toward the end of 2019, the Lord put it on my heart to teach a class at my church centered on Reading Through the Bible in a Year beginning in January of 2020. This was to be straight-up everyone reading God’s Word each day and then coming together weekly to discuss what we’d read. So many classes these days use other books and dip into Scripture for what they intend to convey. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the truth of the matter is that the people in His church – those who should know God and His Word – have not faithfully read this love letter He has given us. The times today are no different than what the prophet declared in Amos 8:11-12:
“Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.”
The modern church indeed has a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. This has caused a generation or more of lukewarm Christians, led by pastors who avoid much of Scripture because teaching it is too hard, opposed to their beliefs, or in their view may negatively impact tithes and offerings. It has led to many in the church who don’t understand the character of God, and certainly to a large swath of congregants and pastors who don’t know Bible prophecy. Despite the fact that God has infused His Word with the prophetic – as much as 1/3 of the Bible is comprised of prophecy – people today are simply ignorant of it. If not uninformed, they have adopted poor exegesis so that their interpretation is significantly flawed.
Thus, God’s direction to me was to teach directly from His Word by having those in the class read it regularly and completely. Note that His instruction wasn’t something I heard audibly; I didn’t experience any sort of revelation; I simply knew this is what I was to do. (I believe wholeheartedly that God can and will impart what He wants to someone in whatever way He deems necessary. This certainly may be supernatural in how that happens.) As part of this class, God gave me the realization that I was to write notes from each day’s reading and use those in the class for my teaching. And so, each day, that’s what I did.
Partway into the year, since I’m an author, I realized that these notes could be assembled into a series of books made available to the general public with the intent of encouraging others beyond the class to likewise engage in Reading Through the Bible in a Year. With that in mind, I created the 4-volume set of Awaken Bible Study Notes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MY3LN39
At the conclusion of that year’s worth of effort, God wasn’t done with me. He gave me another “assignment” for this year of 2021. I was no longer teaching a class, but I was to write an essay based on each day’s reading. Not realizing how daunting a task that would be, I commenced to do it on the first day of January of this year. If I had thought about the hill of doing this that I would climb, I might have floundered. But God kept me focused on the task each day and didn’t really let me look too far ahead. Day-by-day I wrote. This undertaking has resulted in this 4-volume set titled Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09M7SL5ZH/
Having learned from my efforts in creating the study notes, I essentially assembled each day’s writing into the book format as I went along. Trust me, that made creating each volume in the series so much easier!
Both the study notes and the commentaries focus on two major aspects of Scripture: Bible prophecy and the supernatural that is so prevalent in God’s Word. Having studied Bible prophecy for a number of years, that came naturally. Because of reading works by Dr. Michael Heiser, particularly his seminal book, The Unseen Realm, watching his numerous lectures available on YouTube, and by taking a two-year course that he offered, I learned much and imparted that knowledge as best I could in my books.
The moral of this story is that God is faithful. I’m in awe thinking about the fact that I created eight books in these last two years dedicated to studying the Bible and learning its lessons. To top it off, while I was writing these two series, I also wrote two fiction books in this same timeframe. Ten books in two years! Believe me, I take no credit for this effort: It was all God and how He worked through me to carry on each day.
These last two years have been an extraordinary time in human history. For those of us watching through a Biblical, prophetic – even supernatural – lens, it is clear that what is happening is like no other. Having such a worldview in which we examine current events in light of God’s Word, we see the convergence of all Biblical signs pointing toward the very soon return of Jesus. Indeed, just as He told John in Revelation 22:7:
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book”…
…we’re not only two millennia closer, we’re at the doorstep of Jesus appearing in the clouds to snatch His beloved Bride from this alien place. Because we believe in the inerrant infallibility of Scripture, we know that Jesus’ Words are true, i.e., we’re keeping the words of the prophecy of this book.
Unlike those in so many churches – pastors and people in the pews alike – the last thing we wish to do is disobey Jesus’ command regarding what John wrote in Revelation 22:10:
“And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.'”
This is why we revere Bible prophecy. God gives us the ears to hear and eyes to see through it. He shows us why the world is in such a state of apostasy, chaos, lawlessness, and darkness. We know the reason for Christ’s statement in Revelation 22:12:
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”
When John says the following in Revelation 22:14-15:
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood”…
… we know why. God loves those who love and obey Him. He pours out His wrath upon those who don’t. All have the opportunity of gaining eternal life. Sadly, far too many reject the Lord’s free offer to achieve it.
And so, we look up and wait expectantly, for the time cannot be long until His return. It’s why we can rejoice even now as trials and tribulations come our way. The sure Word of God is our hope and our confidence. Just as Revelation 22:20 says:
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”…
… we, along with the Apostle John, say: “Maranatha! Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
The Lord put it on my heart this year to write a daily essay relating to my practice of Reading Through the Bible in a Year. Last year, that resulted in my producing the Awaken Bible Study Notes, a 4-volume set correlating with each quarter’s readings. This year in my writings, truly through the grace of God, I’m producing the 4-volume Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections series. Volume 1, which covers January – March (Genesis 1 – Judges 5; Matthew 1 – Luke 7), is now available on Amazon in both paper and Kindle e-book formats at this link: Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections series Volume 1
If these daily writings have been a blessing to you, I hope that you’ll acquire this first book and the subsequent ones as I finish editing them.
My intent in all I write is to bring God the glory and to make His people think. As in the Study Notes from last year, the Commentary and Reflections delve into the prophetic and supernatural nature of God’s Word, a combination you simply won’t find elsewhere.
They attempt to show the parallels to our times and the peril from the past when God’s people turn away from Him and His commands. Scripture is very much a blueprint for today.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and prolific author. His Whirlwind Series comprises three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is a Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has written many other Christian thrillers that will challenge you, and which you can learn about at his website:www.GaryRitter.com. Recently, Gary wrote a novella for the new Kindle Vella platform called Tribulation Rising: Seal Judgments – The Coming Apocalypse. This seven-part short work can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z462WD. You can also watch Gary’s video Bible teachings on Rumble at his Awaken Bible Prophecy channel: https://rumble.com/c/c-783217.