Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015DBRP_305 Eze36-37 Is14 Heb10a

In chapter 34, we heard the passage that many Jews would have thought of when they heard Jesus say, “I am the good shepherd. I give my life for the sheep.” The Lord promised to take away corrupt shepherds and shepherd the flock himself.

Like we hear in Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Revelation, Babylon will be judged. They were God’s tool to execute judgment, but they themselves will feel God’s judgment.

In yesterday’s chapter in Hebrews, details of the first covenant worship are given. The writer was showing by contrast how Jesus entered a greater, permanent, holy, divinely made Most Holy Place with the one-time-only sacrifice of his own blood. In our time, I think the details also show us the impossibility of our ever rebuilding a system like the Mosaic covenant. Those who want to add old covenant observances to our Christian faith just add accretions of man-made ritual. It is better to study and understand how much better the new covenant is, rather than to try to add empty and powerless ritual and symbolism from the old to the new.

Translation note:

10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of [Christ Jesus//Jesus Christ], once for all time.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

2015DBRP_304 Eze34-35 Is13 Heb9

In Ezekiel yesterday, we heard of how Pharaoh was to be mocked in the world of the dead. Then we heard of God’s justice, which he showed by the illustration of Ezekiel as a watchman for a city.

Yesterday’s reading in Isaiah was a psalm of praise including these poetic lines:

The LORD GOD is my strength and my song;

he has given me victory.”

3With joy you will drink deeply

from the fountain of salvation!


Tell the nations what he has done.

Let them know how mighty he is!

Translation note:

20Babylon will never be inhabited again.

It will remain empty for generation after generation.

Nomads will refuse to camp there,

and shepherds will not bed down their sheep [there].

Conclusions from yesterday’s reading include:

6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015DBRP_303 Eze32-33 Is12 Heb8

Again, as seen in the messages to Tyre and to Egypt, God not just speaking to one king or about one kingdom, but is also speaking against the kingdom/city of Man or the world system under the rulership of Satan.

In yesterday’s reading we again heard of the righteous Branch, a shoot growing from David’s root. And we heard these famous words:

2And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

3He will delight in obeying the LORD.

He will not judge by appearance

nor make a decision based on hearsay.

4He will give justice to the poor

and make fair decisions for the exploited.

The earth will shake at the force of his word,

and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.

5He will wear righteousness like a belt

and truth like an undergarment.

In yesterday’s reading, the writer of Hebrews showed the similarity between Melchizedek and Christ, including that are kings of righteousness and peace, they live forever, and are higher in position and better than Abraham and Moses. Christ is also better than the Levitical priests because he received his priesthood by an oath from God and because he holds his office as priest forever. These things are amazingly confirmed by that prophetic verse in Psalm 110. And very significantly, Jesus thus being our High Priest signifies a change in the Law— something that the original Jewish audience would have found surprising and controversial. Note how carefully the writer weaves in that subject which he brings to a conclusion in today’s chapter.

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Tales of the Kingdom: Princess Amanda and the Dragon

By David & Karen Mains



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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015DBRP_302 Eze30-31 Is11 Heb7

As the Lord was pronouncing doom upon the Prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28, did you notice how the language shifted to talking about things that the human prince could not have done. The spirit-world ruler behind the prince of Tyre is really in mind— that is, Satan. The tirade against the King of Egypt could also be similarly interpreted.

Isaiah recorded in yesterday’s portion that Assyria’s army would come to Judah, but that Judah would be different from the other nations that Assyria conquered. And it did indeed happen like that!

Translation note:

8 [A//The] baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.

Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.

Yesterday the author of Hebrews reminded us of Abraham and Melchizedek. We ought to have great confidence in our hope, because the God— who cannot lie, has given us both a promise and an oath.

Translation note:

3 There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. [It appears that] He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015DBRP_301 Eze28-29 Is10 Heb6

So why were there two whole chapters against the city-state of Tyre in yesterday’s reading, plus one more today?! I think we see the answer in Revelation. Tyre is very like the picture of Babylon (which in that book is a picture of Rome). In the Bible we see a contrast between the ‘city of man’ and the ‘city of God’. The world powers will be utterly defeated, along with all the wealth of commerce that supports them now.

Yesterday’s reading included wonderful prophecies concerning Jesus that are quoted in the Gospels and in Handel’s Messiah:

2b The people who walk in darkness

will see a great light.

For those who live in a land of deep darkness,c

a light will shine.


6For a child is born to us,

a son is given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders.

And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor,d Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus is our High Priest, not in the order of Aaron, but Melchizedek. This chapter picks up where the last left off. Yesterday’s chapter ended with the call for spiritual maturity:

You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

Translation note:

12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith [— that is their full belief,] and endurance.

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Hi, Everyone.

I was hoping to send out an update before now! I’ve been in Indonesia for 19 days. Or, counting travel time, I have been away from home for three weeks. I am currently in Sentani, Papua, in the far east of the country. By far the highlight of my time so far happened last week. It was a full week of meetings with my translation team in Papua. Our little non-profit organization is new, and this the first time we have gotten everyone together. Three of the members came with me from the far side of the country. I was able to train the team in using a new computer program. And it was very significant that the director of our board gave a whole week of his time to meet with us. He happens to be an expert in strategic planning, so we enjoyed his expert help in clarifying our vision and mission.

Just before this trip started, I submitted a 7-day Bible reading plan to YouVersion, and am so pleased that they accepted it. The plan is named Buckling the Belt of Truth. (To find it in the Plan > Discover section of the Bible app, just search for the word ‘Buckling’.) The plan delves into the seven teachings from Scripture that help me the most in living the Christian life. Consider subscribing to that plan if you are looking for more victory in your personal struggle against the world, sinful desires, and the devil. Note that this is a reading plan only. I have not made podcasts for this.

Our organization (Pioneer Bible Translators) has updated the page that allows people to give gifts to us via credit/debit cards. Now it is very easy to send a one-time gift to our ministry. The link to this secure donation site is at the bottom of the Our Story page at

A major prayer request for me is this: To be ready for the growth we anticipate the Lord will give us, I need to release things I have been responsible for, and two of our members need to move up to the next level in leadership. Please pray that the Lord will help us accomplish these changes.

While I have been away from home, Gale has been in Georgia with her sisters and parents. Some hard decisions need to be made for her parents. Please also pray for Gale, as her family looks to her for leadership in such matters.

Please pray for my health. I took the 24-hour food poisoning diet on Sunday, and was very sorry to miss attending church on my one Sunday here in this province.

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’. I’m so glad that you are part of the Daily Bible Reading Podcast family.


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Monday, October 26, 2015

2015DBRP_300 Eze26-27 Is9 Heb5

Yesterday we heard a second word picture of Jerusalem as a cooking pot. This was not good news. Then Ezekiel received word that his treasure— his wife, would die. And he was commanded not to mourn as a sign of what the people would when they heard about the slaughter in Jerusalem. Then there were messages of punishment for the nations of Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia.

In yesterday’s reading, God gave Isaiah the name of his son, which pictures the conquest of Judah by the Assyrian army. Then there was a wonderful and often quoted part that includes about Jesus as the stumbling stone:

12“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,

and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.

13Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.

He is the one you should fear.

He is the one who should make you tremble.

14He will keep you safe.

But to Israel and Judah

he will be a stone that makes people stumble,

a rock that makes them fall.

And for the people of Jerusalem

he will be a trap and a snare.

15Many will stumble and fall,

never to rise again.

They will be snared and captured.”

In yesterday’s chapter, I added a bit to show the meaning of the Greek in verse 9. This was how we translated it in Indonesian, and it helps to understand the concept of a ‘place of rest’. The word for ‘rest’ here in Greek is sabbatismos.

9 So there is a special restf [— a spiritual rest that can be compared to ceasing work on the Sabbath day. It is] still waiting for the people of God.

Then the same chapter contains the wonderful verse about God’s word being living and active, and the encouragement to come boldly with our prayers before the throne of God.

Translation note:

7 While  Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, [crying loudly and with tears//with a loud cry and tears], to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015DBRP_299 Eze24-25 Is8 Heb4

Yesterday in Ezekiel we heard the shockingly graphic story of the two adulterous sisters, which were really the cities of Samaria and Jerusalem.

In yesterday’s reading, Isaiah was sent to Ahaz, and the message contains words that probably have had two fulfillments: “The virginf will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” This is one of those places where I would not see a New Testament connection unless the New Testament spoke of that connection.

For the second time yesterday we heard about God promising another day for the fulfillment of giving Israel a place of rest.

Translation note:

9So there is a special rest [— a spiritual rest that can be compared to ceasing work on the Sabbath day. It is] still waiting for the people of God.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

2015DBRP_298 Eze23 Is7 Heb3b

In yesterday’s reading, we heard the Lord promise that he would refine Israel as purifying silver in a crucible. And then we heard the famous and poignant words:

30“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.

Yesterday we heard the story of Isaiah’s vision of the glory of the Lord in the temple. Isaiah’s lips were purified with a coal from the altar. Then after hearing the Lord’s call, he said the famous words, “Here I am. Send me!” And the Lord revealed that his messages would not be received.

Yesterday we heard the quote from Ps. 95 that forms the basis for this section. The failure of the Israelites was their refusal to believe in the Lord and what He told them.

Translation note:

19 So we see that [they were unable to enter his rest because they refused to believe him.// because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.]

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Friday, October 23, 2015

2015DBRP_297 Eze22 Is6 Heb3a

Yesterday we heard of the sword of the Lord, which was to come to Jerusalem, actually in the form of the army of the king of Babylon. And there would be punishment also for the Ammonites.

In yesterday’s reading, we heard one of the famous chapters that relate to Israel as the Lord’s vine. This would have been in the minds of those who listened to Jesus when he gave his teaching about the vine bearing fruit in John 15. God said yesterday, “They will go into exile because they do not know me.”

In Hebrews 2 we hear the first of the writer’s warnings. These are a persistent theme in this book. And we first heard that Jesus is our perfect High Priest. Jesus is perfect for that position because he fully shared our human existence, and he suffered and defeated the devil’s power over death.

Translation note:

19 So we see that [they were unable to enter his rest because they refused to believe him.// because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.]

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

2015DBRP_296 Eze21 Is5 Heb2

Yesterday we saw that the Lord was quite offended when unrighteous leaders of Israel came to ask for a message from the Lord!

Yesterday there was a temporary break in the clouds in Isaiah, and we heard the first hint about the Righteous Branch who was to come.

Yesterday we heard the amazing prologue in the first chapter of Hebrews. Angels are nowhere approaching the majesty of Jesus. And Jesus was given many glorious promises.

Translation notes:

5 And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future

world we are talking about. 6 For in one place the Scriptures say,

“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,

or a son of man [— an ordinary human,] that you should care for him?

7 Yet you made them [— humans,] only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.

8 You gave them authority over all things.”

Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under [the authority of mankind//their authority].

These are the most frequently misunderstood verses in this book! People are so used to thinking of the title for Jesus, Son of Man. I made the additions because the podcast listeners cannot hear that small letters are used in this case. I think this is the only place in the New Testament where the main Hebrew meaning of ‘son of man’ is used— which simply means ‘an ordinary human’, in distinction from angels or spirit beings.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015DBRP_295 Eze20 Is4 Heb1

In yesterday’s reading in Ezekiel, the Lord refuted the saying that the Israelite’s were using, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.” And then Ezekiel conveyed two poems about the kings of Judah, spoken of symbolically as two lion cubs and like a vine.

Isaiah, like Ezekiel, also spoke of Israel like a vine, and in yesterday’s reading the Lord and Isaiah characterized Israel as a pampered, vain, and spoiled woman.

In heaven, I hope to find out who it was who wrote the book of Hebrews. The book doesn’t show signs of Pauline authorship. Important in this, there is no salutation like in all of Paul’s letters. Also, the writer does not claim to have been an eyewitness of Christ (2:3), as Paul claimed. The letter was probably written somewhat before AD 70, because even though the author talks much of the temple, he never mentions its destruction.

Mears points out that the word ‘better’ occurs 10 times, signalling a theme that Christians have been given a better way. In the first chapter the theme is that Christ is supreme and far superior to angels.

For many years I wondered why the writer did not return to his theme of our ‘place of rest’, which he gives in chapters 3-4. Now I think that he does in fact return to that theme! See if you can find it as we read through! Note that Israel’s ancestors failed to enter the place of rest because of their refusal to believe God. And as Hebrews 11 show, we enter that place of rest through fully believing God. (That is what faith is!)

Translation note:

2And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God [has] promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2015DBRP_294 Eze18-19 Is3 Jude

Yesterday in Ezekiel we read the riddle of the two eagles, portraying Israel’s king breaking his sworn covenant with Babylon. There is a lesson here for us. Normally Babylon would be considered the enemy, and getting free from the enemy would be considered a good thing. But NOT SO if the country has made a promise of loyalty sealed by a vow taken in God’s name! Faithfulness to oaths and promises in God’s name take precedence over ‘business as usual’.

These famous words from yesterday’s chapter in Isaiah bear repeating today:

2In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house

will be the highest of all—

the most important place on earth.

It will be raised above the other hills,

and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.

3People from many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,

to the house of Jacob’s God.

There he will teach us his ways,

and we will walk in his paths.”

For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion;

his word will go out from Jerusalem.

4The LORD will mediate between nations

and will settle international disputes.

They will hammer their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will no longer fight against nation,

nor train for war anymore.

We come today to the little epistle from Jude, the brother of Jesus. But, significantly, he doesn’t call himself Jesus’ half-brother. He calls himself the Slave of Christ Jesus. Jude wrote his letter around the same time as 2 Peter, sometime around AD 60-80. I think that Peter borrowed material from Jude, rather than the other way around. One thing that makes me think this is that Jude uses more material from extra-biblical sources than Peter does in 2 Peter 2. Jude and Peter were writing in a very difficult time for Christians, and Jude calls us to contend for the ‘faith’— the teachings that God has given to us to fully believe.

Translation note:

1This letter is from Jude, a slave of [Christ Jesus//Jesus Christ] and a brother of James.

I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

20But  you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,

Footnote: Faith = belief. Holy beliefs can be summarized as the content of the Gospel and all of God’s Word. These are the ‘healthy teachings’ that Paul spoke about in Titus and his other books.

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