Friday, July 8, 2016

Who Gets to Go in the Rapture?

There are a number of beliefs as to when the rapture is going to occur - Pre-trib, Mid-trib, Pre-wrath, Last Trump, and Post-trib. In the case of Pre-trib a new belief has emerged that says that there is a partial rapture instead of a complete rapture, with God leaving behind those who are not believers in the Pre-trib theory. Essentially they are saying that if you believe anything other than Pre-trib, God is going to punish you for that by making you go through the tribulation. The fact that they claim that Christians are not appointed to wrath, then leave a whole lot of them behind to suffer what they say is wrath, along with what they call tribulation saints is a little contradictory to say the least. It is unfortunate that they cannot see how illogical their belief is.

As those who read my blog may know, I do not adhere to the Pre-trib view, I believe what the Scriptures teach, that the rapture will happen at the last trump, when the mystery of God is finished. The question in this article is, who will be in that rapture and why?

Knowing that the rapture is not only after the great tribulation is cut short (and it would seem unlikely that many would survive that), but that it also comes after the six trumpets in which many die, it would seem unlikely that many would reach that point having survived. Especially considering that the people being killed in the worst holocaust ever are the Christians.  In spite of that, it seems that many pre-wrath and post-trib people believe that nearly all Christians will make it to the rapture. At least they always believe that they themselves will. When reading their articles and comments it seems that they have the idea that God is going to protect all Christians through all of this and that there will be a great host of people being raptured at the Lord's Coming. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the disciples asked Jesus what the signs of His coming were,  He said to "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass." Luke 21:36. The first thing He did was give some instructions on making it to the rapture. You have to pray to be worthy to escape the tribulation and what follows it. That requires three things. First you have to pray, and second you have to pray specifically to be worthy, and third you have to strive to be worthy, for in this case it is not about salvation, for which we will never be worthy no matter how much we strive. Salvation only comes through Jesus' worthiness. This is about escaping tribulation, or the wrath of Satan, or the chastisement of God, for as Peter said, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"  1 Peter 4:17. This is more than Satan's wrath, this is about God's chastisement on an apostate Bride. Judgment will begin with us, for we have strayed far from God. That is what the seven letters to the churches in Revelation are all about. Two of those churches pass His inspection, but even one of those is destined for martyrdom. The other five must be purged and refined. Daniel 11:35 "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed." So what you are striving to do is to be living in such a way that you do not need God's chastisement.

The next verse is one that pre-tribbers like to grab onto to show that they won't be here during the tribulation, but that is not what it says. Revelation 3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."  First of all to keep us from something does not mean to remove us from it. It means to keep us through it. Jesus said this in John 17:15 "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." If there is any question as to whether "keep them (or thee) from" means to take out of, Christ clearly is stating here that He does not mean to take them out of the world. He wants them kept safe while in the world. So we can see that this promise is to keep us safe within that time of temptation or the tribulation, for the same exact words are used in both passages, and the one passage defines what is meant by those words.

The next thing that most people seem to miss, because they are so busy being hung up on the phrase "keep them from" is that this says the "hour of temptation", not wrath. The temptation is a testing. God has a practice of testing our faith, for our faith needs testing. This is not an uncommon thing to have happen. And especially when the Church has become apostate and has fallen away as mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition," and in the letters to the churches in Revelation. So only one out of seven churches qualifies. That is only 14% of the churches, and it does not necessarily mean everyone in that church either, for only those who keep the word of God's patience, are given the promise. What does that mean, keep the word of God's patience? I believe it means to keep and hold to the truth of when the rapture really is going to occur, at the Second Coming at the last trump. It will require patience to wait through all of this and stay faithful in the face of the persecution. This is verified by two verses later in Revelation 13:10 "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." and 14:11-12 "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."  The patience of the saints is to not take the mark, and watch others be killed when they don't, and be willing to be killed yourself.

So far we have that we must 1) pray 2) pray that we are worthy to escape 3) strive to be worthy by living in holiness and faithfulness and 4) hold to the truth of the Scriptures that we must go through this and endure to the end.

The last instruction having to do with the survival guide for the tribulation is found in the previous verse of Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."  It is specified that not only is keeping the faith in Christ alive and patience necessary, but keeping the commandments of God is also a requirement. It is mentioned also in Revelation 12:17 " And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."  Satan is going to go after those who keep the commandments of God who are also followers of Christ. It is not Jews this speaks of, but Christians who follow the commandments.

So many Christians these days say that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant, or that Christ reduced them to two, so only love is necessary, but that is not what the Bible teaches. Much is said about us keeping the Commandments of God in the New Testament.

Matthew 5:19 "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Christ is talking about the kingdom of God, the one over which He shall be king. And that is the kingdom which all the Old Testament and New Testament saints expect to be living. And what does He say? He does not say that the Old Testament saints had to follow the laws, but through grace through faith in Him the commandments are now irrelevant. He says that if you break even one (and there are ten, not nine) of these commandments and teach someone else  to break them, He will not be shut out of the kingdom, but he shall be the least in the kingdom. So for Christians who teach that we are not under the law (and especially that the Sabbath is not required anymore), that is not true. God's moral laws are eternal. However God will forgive the breaking of the commandments, because of Christ's sacrifice and their faith. They will not lose their salvation over breaking them as long as they repent. Their loss however will come in the way of protection and rewards. Protection because only those who keep the commandments will run in the competition to be among the protected, and rewards because those who do not keep them or teach others to keep them will not be important in the kingdom. On the other hand, those who do keep and teach that the commandments must be kept, will be great in the kingdom.

Matthew 19:17 "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

Here Christ is telling someone that following Him is not enough, but if this man wants to enter into eternal life, he must keep the commandments.

Mathew 22:40 "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

In this verse, Christ says that all the law is summed up in the word "love", love to God and love to others, but He does not say that the Ten Commandments are no longer valid. It is merely that the Ten Commandments detail the important command, that we love God and others. They are the rules that we follow to be able to love God and our neighbor in the proper way that is acceptable to God. Love simply summarizes what they represent. Christ did not mean just to have fuzzy feelings toward God and others. We are to act out our love by following the rules in the Ten Commandments, for faith without works is dead.

John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

Again, Christ is speaking of the entire Ten Commandments, (not nine) not just to have warm fuzzy feelings of love toward people. The verse where Christ reduced the Ten to two is not a new idea, for He is quoting the Old Testament which says the same thing. Yet even though the two commandments were given to love God and love your neighbor in the Old Testament, it did not do away with the Ten.

John 14:21 "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."

We are told again to keep the commandments. Keeping them is the sign that we love God. But wait, if just love was necessary, this verse would not make sense, for love can't be the sign of love. Something else has to be a sign or the evidence of love. In other words, there is some action that must be done, that will be the evidence that the person is motivated by love. Love the feeling is not an evidence of love. There has to be a tangible something for people to see, an action that proves that love is behind the action. The Ten Commandments are the behaviors which exemplify love, and keeping them are the evidence of our love for God and our neighbor.

John 15:10 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Again, we are told to keep the commandments to be able to abide in Christ's love.

1 Corinthians 7:19 "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God."

Here it is made plain by Paul that it does not matter if you are  Jew or a Gentile, keeping the Commandments is for everyone. If it were just for the Jews, Paul would not have said what he did.

1 Corinthians 14:37  "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

Now not only are we told that the Ten Commandments are incumbent upon us, but Paul says that the things which he has taught them are as much behaviors to be observed as the Ten Commandments.

1 John 2:3 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."

We can know whether or not we have a real relationship with Christ by self-examination to see if we are keeping the Commandments. If we are not, then we need to consider that we do not really know Him.

1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Again, keeping the Commandments is a sign that we know Christ. If we are not keeping them, then we are liars about our relationship with Him.

1 John 3:22 "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

Keeping the Commandments results in having a more effective prayer life.

1 John 3:24 "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

Once more we are told that if Christ dwells in us, we will be keeping the Commandments. It is how we and others know that we truly have a relationship with Him for the Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to keep the Commandments.

1 John 5:2 "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments."

How many times must Christians be told that keeping the Commandments is the evidence that we are the children of God.

1 John 5:3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."

Need I say it again?

2 John 1:6 "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."

Love is the reason we are able to keep the Commandments. Love makes us want to obey the Commandments. Love is the source, but the behaviors showing obedience to the Commandments is the evidence of that love.

So now we see there are a list of requirements that must be met to even qualify to be in the running to be in the group that is able to forego the testing or time of tribulation.  But is there any indication that many will not be doing that? Well, yes and some of them have already been mentioned. In 2 Thessalonians we are told that there will be a falling away or apostasy of the church. Then the letters to the churches show Christ's displeasure with the state of the churches and their sins, and He rebukes five of them and tells them they had better repent or else. In fact Thyatira is told that He will throw them into the Great Tribulation. He is very specific about that. Even the Smyrnans with whom He has no issue are told they will be martyred for Him. Then there is that very large group on the sea of glass in Revelation 7:14 "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." As the rapture comes later and those who make it to the rapture are seen on the sea of glass later in Revelation 15, we know that these have not come out of the tribulation by rapture. They have come out of it through death, and they are a great multitude which no man can number. Millions upon millions will be killed in the tribulation. It will far surpass the holocaust of Hitler. The martyrs in the fifth seal were told that they had to wait for those who had to be killed as they were, before God would begin His wrath, and then here we see that group whom they have been waiting for soon after.  If there is any doubt, we are told in  Revelation 12:11 " And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."  People will redeem themselves from their apostasy by giving their lives for Christ.  This is not about salvation, this is about disobedience and making the Bride pure, for she has made her garment very dirty. She needs cleaning up, because she has dirtied the clean garment she was given upon accepting Christ.

Christ also told us that  "then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." in Matthew 24:21.  If this holocaust is worse than any other holocaust in the history of the world, and the only people being killed are basically Christians who will not take the mark, guess what, there are going to be a whole lot of Christians being killed. That means that very few will be left to make it to the rapture. In fact Christ says He has to cut short the length of time of the tribulation, as if He let it run the entire three and a half years, there would be no flesh saved at all, for everyone who did not take the mark would be killed, and those who did would go to hell, so there would be nobody left to go into the millennium.

So we can see that very few Christians will make it to the rapture. Jesus even asked, " And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:7-8.  There will have been so much apostasy, and so few true faithful and obedient believers left that Christ was wondering if anybody will be left to be raptured when He returns.

If you want to be in the running to be in that elite, tiny group of believers that find themselves on the sea of glass in Revelation 15 singing the song Moses and the Lamb (notice that they obey the Law - Moses - and the Lamb - are Christians) having had victory over the beast, then you must at least be doing what is required to get onto the team. 1) Pray that you might be worthy to escape. 2) Strive to be worthy by obeying the Ten Commandments (which includes the Sabbath) and 3) keep the patience of God - remember that you must have enormous faith and patiently endure through not only the tribulation, but the six trumpet judgments and wait for the Second Coming of the Lord. You must have extra oil for your lamp, as in the parable of the Ten Virgins.  The first five did not expect to have to persevere and wait an inordinately long time, so did not prepare adequately for that. The last five knew they would have to have patience and had prepared in advance to do so. That is what this parable is all about. Most people interpret it in an entirely different way and miss the very point of what it is teaching - the same thing that Christ taught in Matthew 24 and in the letter to the Philadelphians in Revelation when He said to pray to be worthy and keep the patience of God. And also what He and the apostles taught throughout Scripture, that we must keep the Commandments of God. Even then there is no guarantee you will be in that elite group. You can only pray that you may be worthy.

So who gets to go in the rapture? Nobody can know if they are going to make it to that point, but you can make sure that you are in the qualifying heat, as they say in races. At least you should try to be in the running by following the instructions. Those who are not following the instructions, figuring that they are destined to escape it either because they are pre-trib or they don't think God will let any Christians suffer can probably figure that they are going to be one of the first group on the sea of glass, who come out of the tribulation long before the rapture. And the only way that is happening is through death. For those who are striving, the good news is, the number of people you are competing with to get on the team seem to be a small number, so your odds are good. May God bless your striving and may you find yourself a Philadelphian who overcomes.

Is the Rapture Going to Be on the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Kippur?

It is finally understood by many prophecy teachers that the fall feasts are to the Second Coming as the spring feasts were to the first. As such, there is a desire to understand what each feast or holy day represents. Before looking at how the feasts relate to the Second Coming we will merely look at the Scriptures and some of the traditions that surround them.

There are three feasts, however we will only concern ourselves with the first two in this article. The first is the Feast of Trumpets. It is better known as Rosh Hashanah, but that is not what the Lord calls it. In Hebrew this would be Yom Teruah - Day of Blasts (or Trumpet Blasts) hence the Feast of Trumpets.

Leviticus 23:24-25 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD."

Numbers 29:1-6 "And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram, And one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD."

This is all that is said about the Feast of Trumpets. There are three things required, 1) it is a Sabbath, so there will be no work, it is a day of rest, 2) it is a day of sacrifices and offerings, and 3) it is a day of blowing of trumpets. This is what we are told about this feast. Along with what the Bible tells us about this feast, which is very little, we know that the seventh month, Tishri, was originally the first month of the year. When God created everything, this was the first month. God changed the numbering of the months when He established Israel after the exodus from Egypt. Exodus 12:2 "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." What had been the seventh month became the first month of the ecclesiastical year, and what was the original first month became the seventh in that calendar. However Judaism also still observes a civil calendar, and it still begins with the month of Tishri. As it is the original first month and considered to be the anniversary of creation, it is considered the New Year and hence the man-made celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which is the New Year's celebration. This is not spoken of in Scripture in relation to this day though. It is merely the Feast of Trumpets as designated by God.

As for trumpets themselves, there were two kinds which were used, a shofar or ram's horn, and silver trumpets. There were a number of ways they were used, each having its own purpose.They were used to announce the beginning of festivals, to muster troops, to warn of danger, to assemble the people, in the midst of battles, at the year of Jubilee, for coronations, at the daily burnt offerings, and for music in the temple.

There was another use which is pertinent to this feast. On the first day of every month, trumpets were blown. Numbers 10:10 "Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God." The seventh month was designated as a Feast to celebrate the blowing of trumpets.

There are also a number of traditions associated with this day. The first is that this is the anniversary of creation. I am not sure whether they measure this from the first day God spoke, or the day He created Adam. Another tradition calls this day "the day that no man knows the day or hour." The reason it is called this is because the first day of every month in Judaism is determined by when the new moon is first seen. In ancient times two witnesses had to see the first sliver of the new moon and report it to the temple. This was not a rule given by God, this was just a rule they adopted. Then the first day of the month could be declared. As nobody could be sure when this would occur, the first day of the month would be a day which no man would know the day or hour. Another tradition is that this day will be the coronation day of the Messiah. Lastly there is a tradition that this day is the beginning of a ten day period called the Days of Awe.  During this time God judges people and they fall into one of three categories. They either have their names written in the Book of Life, they are condemned, or they are given ten days to escape judgment by repenting. The books are sealed on Yom Kippur. 

The second fall feast is Yom Kippur, although it is not really a feast. It is instead a fast. The only one mandated by God. It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month and is known as the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 16:29-34 "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses."

Leviticus 16:7-10 "And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness."

Leviticus 23:27-32 "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."

Numbers 29:7-11 "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein: But ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD for a sweet savour; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals to a bullock, and two tenth deals to one ram, A several tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: One kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering of it, and their drink offerings."

This day is a Sabbath of rests or literally a Sabbath of Sabbaths. The most important Sabbath in the entire year. They are to have a holy convocation (a gathering of the people together), and do no work, (this rule includes any strangers among them). They are also instructed to fast and offer sacrifices.  The high priest puts on white linen garments and makes an atonement for the people by going into the holy place and sprinkling blood upon the ark of the covenant. Two goats are chosen. One is offered as a sin offering and the other has the sins of the people symbolically laid upon him and he is turned loose into the wilderness. In reality, the people threw this goat off a cliff so that it would not come back. It was said to be offered to Azazel, a demon chained to the area of the wilderness.

The Bible does not mention in these verses that a trumpet should be blown on this day, but that is what is traditionally done. Yom Kippur ends with the blowing of the shofar, which is supposed to herald the coming of the Messiah. It also symbolizes the closing of the gates of heaven. Yom Kippur tradition says this is the day when God closes the books after the ten days of awe or repentance, and He decides people's fates. Tradition also says it is the day that the Day of the Lord or God's wrath will begin. This has some basis in Scripture. Joel 1:14-15 "Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,  Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." The only required fast day is Yom Kippur, and they are to have a holy convocation or solemn gathering on that day, which is what this verse instructs them to do. The resurrection is also expected to occur on this day, as it precedes God's wrath. It also is said that this was the day of the fall of man by Adam and Eve. This was the first atonement in the history of the world when God killed animals to cover their sins, for He made them coats of skins. It would make sense, for it could not have been a long time between their creation and the fall, for there was no time for children to be conceived, and God had ordered them to get busy in that respect. Also, though it is only a few days, Satan would have had time to fall, when he saw God had created man in His image and got jealous and full of pride, and of course immediately he would have aimed his anger at God's creation to corrupt it.

While the trumpets are traditionally blown at the end of Yom Kippur, the only time that God has said that a trumpet is to be blown on Yom Kippur is when it is the year of Jubilee. This would be the last trumpet blown in God's calendar of time keeping, for God measures time by weeks of days (7 days with the 7th being a Sabbath), by weeks of years (7 years with the 7th year being a Sabbath) and by weeks of Sabbath years (7 groups of 7 year periods - 49 years) with the 50th year being a Jubilee and a Sabbath year. Then the count begins again.

Leviticus 25:8-55 "And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.

And the land shall yield her fruit, and he shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store. The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile. But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile. Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubile: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel.  But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession.

And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God. Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour. And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubile, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight. And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubile, both he, and his children with him. For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."

The Jubilee year is the year when everyone from Israel goes free, both from servitude, and from financial problems. They regain what they have lost in the way of land. Israelites who were sold into servitude due to financial problems could be redeemed during the fifty years by kinsmen for a price, dependent upon how many years until Jubilee, but whether a servant of an Israelite or a stranger, he was set free at Jubilee. The heathen bondsmen. however, remained forever as a servant of the family to be inherited as property. Property whether farmland or village land reverted back with the same rules of redemption as people. The exception was that houses inside walled cities had one year to be redeemed after being sold, and after that they were lost. The Levites could redeem anything at any time for they were to keep their land and houses for perpetuity. The land was not to be sown or reaped on the Jubilee year which also followed a Sabbath year. God's way of handling that was to give them three years worth of food on the sixth year in the seven year cycle. He guaranteed that they would be eating it not only through the seventh year, and Jubilee year (8th) year, but also into the ninth year.

When Christ first began His ministry, He stood up and read a passage from Isaiah in the synagogue. Luke 4:17-21 "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

The passage in Isaiah says a little bit more. Isaiah 61:1-3a "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion"

Christ was reading a passage which referred to the ultimate Jubilee when the Messiah would come and fulfill those things in the greatest possible way. Israel would be set free for all time, they would redeem the land they had lost, their spirits would be set free from sin.  He stopped short of the end of the passage about the day of vengeance, because at that time, He was there to preach the gospel. Had they been willing and accepted Him, the day of vengeance would have followed, but they rejected Him. So Christ indicated by this passage that His coming had to do with Jubilee, which is announced with a trumpet blast at Yom Kippur, as the captives were liberated, not only physically from servitude and their ailments, but spiritually too as they were set free from the bonds of sin.

So now that we have looked at the Scriptures and traditions surrounding these two holy days, let us look to see what each one may represent.

First, not relying on the traditions, but keeping it strictly to Scripture we see that when we look at the feast of trumpets, as these feasts are foreshadowing things symbolically through whatever actions the Lord tells the people to take, we see that there are only three things He asks of them on this day. Blow the trumpets, observe it as a Sabbath, and offer the usual sacrifices of the month along with a few more.  If we look to the New Testament, the only thing we see that might refer to this day that doesn't have to do with a tradition is the seven trumpet judgments. Trumpets are blown on the new moon of every month and then there is the Feast of Trumpets on the seventh month. This gives us seven trumpets up to this point. It is signifying that seven trumpets are important, and the seventh one especially is the cause of a Sabbath.  So the Feast foreshadows the importance of the trumpet judgments in Revelation and especially designated the seventh or last trumpet as the most important. And in Revelation we see that seven trumpets are sounded, and the last trumpet is the most important. It symbolizes what is to come. As the day is also declared to be a Sabbath, we see a foreshadow of the Sabbath rest of the millennium.

When it comes to the traditions associated with the day, there is the phrase "nobody knows the day or hour" that Christ says in Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." It is thought that since He said that He would come back at a time when nobody would know the day or hour,  many assume that this must be the day of the rapture, but this is not necessarily true. Every first day of the month would be a day which no man would know the day or hour, not just this day, although this day has a feast on it. And as it wouldn't matter what hour they saw the sliver, it was really that nobody would know the day. The hour wouldn't really be relevant. And it would seem that Jesus should know what God knows as they are of one mind, and as they are in charge of nature and the appearance of the moon, it seems unlikely that Christ wouldn't know the day or hour. There happens to be another event of which this is also said, but it fills what Christ said in a more complete way.

While people may not know the day of the Feast of Trumpets, (the hour being irrelevant as no matter what hour the sliver was seen, it was the day that mattered) Christ specifies that only God would know the day and the hour.  The event of which only a father would know the day and the hour would be the time at which he would send his son forth to get his bride. In the traditions of the culture, when a man was betrothed (as Christ is to the Church) he would leave her behind while he went back to his father's house and built a place for the newlyweds to live (New Jerusalem). When his father examined the structure and decided it was complete, he would give his son permission to go get his bride. (The groom would know it was time, but he had to await the actual permission to go). The groom would then make a noisy parade of it, probably with instruments (maybe a trumpet?) alerting all that he was on his way to pick up his bride and take her home. Now, in this case, the son would know that everything was ready for his departure, but he would not be able to leave, or know the day or hour in which his father would actually say the words, "Go get your bride." It would seem that since Christ is a groom, who has made a place for his bride to live and needs to wait for His Father to tell Him to go and get her, making a loud triumphant event of it, that when Christ said nobody knows the day or hour but the Father, refers to the resurrection/rapture at His Second Coming, but it does not mean that it has to occur on the Feast of Trumpets. It simply means that His Coming is the Bridegroom coming for His Bride and He can't know for certain when the Father will say "go", down to the hour. This seems made clear when He follows it up with the parable of the ten virgins, and how five were not ready for the groom's return and so missed out. It would seem that the point of His statement is not to point us to the Feast of Trumpets, but to alert us to the fact that this is about a wedding and it will be at a time when the groom and father know all is ready, but everyone else will be caught by surprise, unless they are vigilant and watching.

Finally another tradition associated with this holiday is a coronation. Trumpets were also sounded at coronations, and Christ must be crowned King before He returns. This would seem to be a good time to do it.

When it comes to Yom Kippur we know that in particular the most important Yom Kippur is the announcement of the year of Jubilee. We see that Christ read the Scriptures about the Jubilee when He announced that the ultimate day of Jubilee had come, if they would accept it. This would seem to indicate that Christ will come on a Jubilee year to set the captives free and declare the acceptable year of the Lord. Jubilee begins at Yom Kippur with the last trumpet blast of the year according to God's ordinances.

Yom Kippur is about atonement or redemption, fasting and mourning over ones sins with repentance, and Israel being given forgiveness as a nation. When Christ returns, it says that all Israel will see Him and mourn, as they realize their mistake. Zechariah 12:9-14 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."

When the Church is raptured, it is the end of the time of the Gentiles, and the time when all Israel will be saved. Romans 11:25-26 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" Zechariah 13:1 "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." On the day the Church is raptured, atonement will be made for the sins of Israel and all Israel will be saved. Yom Kippur is the day when Israel as a nation is given atonement.

It is a day when the priest puts on white (as we all will upon the resurrection/rapture) to go before God. It is a day when one goat is exiled (the first man, Adam) and the other is sacrificed (the last Adam, Christ). 1 Corinthians 15:45 47 " And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.... The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."  Yom Kippur is the Sabbath of Sabbaths, and this Jubilee of the Lord's return would be the mega Sabbath of all time. Which is what the millennium is.

According to tradition, it is the day when the books are closed and it is decided who is in the Book of Life, and who goes into God's wrath. When the Church is raptured, God's wrath is poured out on the rest of the world. According to tradition, Yom Kippur is that day when God's wrath begins to be poured out.

Joel 2:11-18 "And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD (the Day of the Lord will occur when the following occurs) is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?  Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, (repentance) and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: ( Yom Kippur) And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.  Who knoweth if he will return and repent, (Christ will return for them at Armageddon) and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? (marriage supper of God, Rev. 19:17*)  Blow the trumpet (last trump) in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:   Gather the people, (holy convocation) sanctify the congregation, (Israel's sins forgiven, all Israel saved)  assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.  Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?  Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people."  Christ will redeem Israel and the land.

*Rev. 19:17 "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God."

In the above passage Yom Kippur is clearly tied to the Day of the Lord.  And the Day of the Lord is preceded by the resurrection and rapture.

Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." We are sealed unto the day of redemption. Yom Kippur is the day of redemption for Israel, which means it is also the day of redemption for the Church as when their time is fulfilled, the time of Israel's redemption begins.

We see the events outlined in Isaiah 58:1-14 "Cry aloud, spare not, (Feast of Trumpets) lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and (Days of Awe) shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. (Yom Kippur) Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen?(Jubilee) to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Second Coming) Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, (All Israel is saved) and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee;  the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul;  (Restoration of the people and nation) then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Restoration of land) And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (Millennium) If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."

Just to follow up with the third feast, five days after Yom Kippur is the Feast of Tabernacles. It is Scripturally a time of celebrating the memorial of the people in the wilderness under God's protection after leaving Egypt. And it could just as easily stand for the protection in the wilderness during the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Revelation 12:14 "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

It is also Scripturally the feast celebrating among other things, the harvest of grapes, which has a significant parallel in Revelation 14:14-20 "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."

It is also called the "Season of Our Joy."  A wedding feast generally lasted a week in Biblical times. This feast is eight days long. Five days might be sufficient time for the Bema Seat awards to be given and have the Bride prepared for a wedding ceremony. It is this feast which is mentioned in Zechariah 14:16, which all people are required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate during the millennium. What better feast to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's marriage to His Bride than this one? "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles."

While many will want to cling to the Feast of Trumpets as the rapture, due to the two premises 1) the phrase "nobody knows the day or hour" and 2) the trumpet blast, I think those two things can be explained away (the marriage tradition and the Jubilee trumpet actually being the last trumpet, not the one on the Feast of Trumpets) which leaves no other evidence for that day. I believe the preponderance of Scriptural evidence clearly indicates that Yom Kippur, and in particular the Jubilee Yom Kippur, is the day which will see the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection/rapture, and Day of the Lord's wrath. The evidence of the traditional beliefs seems to weigh in that favor also. However, it is up to the reader to decide what they will believe.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Will the Ark of the Covenant Be Necessary in the Third Temple of Daniel's 70th Week? Will It Be Found?

Much has been speculated over the fate of the ark of the covenant. There are a number of theories as to where it lies. This is the list of the most popular theories.

It lies hidden in a cave in the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Institute, which is an ultra-orthodox group who have been working on preparations to rebuild the Temple, along with many orthodox Jews, say that this is the location of the ark. There was an excavation attempted in 1982 under Rabbi Yehuda Getz, but is was halted due to the riots that began when the Arabs discovered there was digging going on under the Dome of the Rock. “Witnesses” have said that they saw it, before they were blocked from further excavation.

It lies in a hidden room at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres in France. It is suggested by Louis Charpentier in his book Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral that the Templars found the ark during the Crusades and hid it in the cathedral for safety. The current clergy and caretakes at the cathedral deny this theory.

It lies in an unmarked cave in modern Jordan, along with other key artifacts, having been hidden there by the prophet Jeremiah prior to the siege by Babylon.

It lies in one of sixty-four different locations designated as treasure sites in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It is held by the Lemba Tribe in southern Africa, specifically Zimbabwe. This tribe claims to be one of the “lost” tribes of Israel. A DNA survey done in 1999 does link the Lemba tribe to the priestly families in Israel. They treat their “ark” with the appropriate rules as prescribed in the Scriptures. There is a 700 year-old replica held at the Museum of Human Science in Zimbabwe which the Lemba claim was created from the core of the original ark. As this “ark” is bowl shaped, one has to wonder if they were so meticulous about keeping the prescribed rules for how to treat the ark, how they missed reading the description of it, which clearly is a box shape.

It lies in the Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia. Supposedly Solomon's and the Queen of Sheba's son, Menelik, stole the ark and replaced it with a fake, taking the real one back to Ethiopia with him. Nobody is allowed in to see this ark, but supposedly replicas of it are placed in every affiliate church. In looking for pictures of the replicas, I could only find someone carrying a small red rectangular trunk (no cherubim) with either gold or silver star-shaped designs on it. Again, this does not fit the description in the Bible.

It lies on the bottom of Lake Tiberias (aka the Sea of Galilee) according to some Shia Muslims who credit this knowledge to the Hadith (sayings attributed to Mohammed or commentary thereof). According to their prophecies, this ark will rise from the lake after the rise of the Mahdi (their Messiah), whom their prophecies also say will rule the Earth for seven or so years before the Day of Judgement.

It lies under the hill of Golgotha, according to Ron Wyatt, a hobbiest archaeologist. Wyatt made claims of finding other Biblical artifacts, such as Noah's ark. He said that the ark of the covenant was positioned there, so that Christ's blood could drip on it through the fissure in the rock during the crucifixion. He even claims to have scraped dried blood off the ark casing and to have subjected it to DNA testing. He said the lab reported the fascinating result of half the chromosomes normal humans have, consistent with having only one human parent (Mary). My problem with this is, how did Wyatt avoid being struck dead, as Uzzah was when he touched the ark, when he scraped this blood sample off the ark? That does beg some questions, does it not?

It is said by some to reside in heaven, based upon Revelation 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” This can be dismissed right away, as there has always been an ark in heaven, long before the replica of it was made for the tabernacle. We know this because God told Moses that he was making the tabernacle and its accoutrements as replicas of the heavenly temple, and that is why the measurements and arrangement of all things had to be so precise. Exodus 25:9, 40 “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it........And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5 “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”

Lastly the movie Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark along with the television show Warehouse 13 has left us with the theory that the ark is boxed up in an unmarked crate and stored along with other missing artifacts of importance in an undesignated (or possibly the basement of the Smithsonian) government location where it can be protected from either being used for nefarious purposes by unsavory characters, or possibly proving the Bible true. One can almost believe this is the most logical possibility, knowing our government.

The truth of the matter is, nobody knows what happened to it except God. Is it necessary that it make a reappearance for the time of Daniel's 70th week? Not really. We know that it was not in the Second Temple, and that did not stop them from sacrificing. We know that God left the Temple and will not return to it until He returns in the person of Jesus Christ or Yeshua ha Mashiach, so He does not need the mercy seat as a throne. We know that Christ was the ultimate sacrifice and that the Yom Kippur sacrifice or atonement has been permanently made once and for all. So the ark would seem to be unnecessary for the Tribulation Temple, for lack of a better title.  The only real prophecies that say it will make a reappearance come not from the Bible, but from the prophecies of Islam. These prophecies come from Satan, so does he plan to bring it back? Or at least a facsimile of it? Possibly.
The question then would seem to be, is it a necessary part of the Millennial Temple, for if it is, then one might think that it is necessary that it makes its reappearance. For that answer we can turn to the Scriptures.

Jeremiah 3:16 “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.”

This Scripture tells us that during the millennium (which this passage of Scripture is describing) the ark will not come to mind, nor be remembered, nor visited (it could only be visited by priests once a year on Yom Kippur), nor shall what was done on the day of Yom Kippur (the sacrifice covering the sins of the people for the past year) be done anymore. If it is not visited by the priests on Yom Kippur, then it is not being used. If it is not being used it is unnecessary. If it is not remembered or does not even come to mind, it probably doesn't exist, for even if it existed, but was not visited, people would know it was there and think about it. Why is it not there? It is not needed. God will dwell among people in the person of Jesus Christ. He will be on a different kind of throne. Not a mercy seat where sacrifices need be offered, but on a throne where a king reigns. The people who are born in the millennium will only know the world that is, at that time, not remember the world that was. It will be irrelevant to them. The temple worship will be similar, in that sacrifices will be made, but not for all the same purposes. In Old Testament times, besides being sacrifices of blood to barely temporarily cover their sins, the sacrifices were the source of food for the priests and Levites. Without land to till and raise animals, they would be without food to eat. These sacrifices provided, along with the tithes every third year, the needed supplies of food, oil, wood, wine, etc. that was needed for the temple priests/Levites as well as their families and the running of the temple itself.

While many people have a problem with sacrifices being re-instituted during the millennium, that is exactly what Ezekiel teaches us in the last ten or so chapters of that book. As most people do not understand the sacrificial system at all, and only think it was to cover sins (which it never really did – Hebrews 10:4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”), they do not understand why it would be re-instituted given that Christ died for our sins once and for all. Yes, He did. But looking at the Church these days and the sin that pervades it, would it not be a good reminder every time you committed a sin, if you had to go sacrifice an animal? I know it would certainly be a greater tangible deterrent for me than just my conscience, which although it accuses me, makes me feel guilty, and causes me to repent, does not cause as much anguish in my repentance (shame on me) as if I had to also slaughter one of my animals (and being an animal lover, this would bother me greatly). Then there is the absolute necessity of providing food for the priests and Levites. This will not change. This is the means by which it will be done, as this is how God set up His government. The sacrifices always served a double duty.

So, while the temple will be built again (see Ezekiel for the description) during the millennium (this will be the fourth temple, actually) it will not have an ark of the covenant according to the Scripture in Jeremiah. As it is not needed, chances are, it will not be discovered for the time of Daniel's 70th week. But who knows. Maybe Satan has something up his sleeve, given what he has told others.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Four Blood Moons Theory

The Blood Moon Theory has become increasingly more popular in the past few years. It is especially popular with the pre-tribulationists as they see it as a sign (in spite of the fact that they say there will be no signs) of the rapture. This theory was originated by Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries and was made more popular by John Hagee's bestselling book Four Blood Moons
If you have not heard of it, the theory is that the four lunar eclipses which occur on April 15, 2014, October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015 and September 28, 2015 are a tetrad of blood moons which, falling on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) in both those years, is a sign to Israel that something is about to happen. As pre-tribulationists believe that they will be out of here before anything starts with Israel, that means to them that the rapture must occur very soon.

Why are these eclipses significant? First in Jewish tradition, when a solar eclipse occurs, it is a bad omen for the nations, but when a lunar eclipse occurs it is a bad omen for Israel. Secondly there are some prophecies having to do with the end of the age that deal with the sun and the moon. The following are the Scriptures used as the basis for this Blood Moon Theory.

Joel 2:31 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”

Acts 2:20 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:” 
Revelation 6:12b “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal …......and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”

Taking these verses out of context from surrounding verses and assuming that they are speaking of normal lunar (and solar) eclipses, Mr. Biltz went to NASA's charts on eclipses and discovered that there was a tetrad of lunar eclipses in the future. He then compared these dates to the Jewish calendar and found that many fell on Jewish feast days. He then looked to see if there were any historical tetrads that had significance attached to their dates. He found what he thought was important information. Six times a tetrad had occurred in conjunction with Jewish feasts. By checking historical data he found that three of these had what he considered to be great significance in Jewish history.

The first tetrad was April 2 and September 25, 1493; and March 22 and September 15, 1494.
The second was April 13 and October 7, 1949; and April 2, and September 25, 1950.
The third was April 24 and October 18, 1967; and April 13 and October 6, 1968.

The first tetrad came during the Spanish Inquisition in which the Jews were expelled from Spain. Messieurs Biltz and Hagee have tied this tetrad in with the Alhambra Decree issued on March 31, 1492. The problem with this would seem to be, if God is trying to use these signs to warn the people, isn't he a little late to the party? These tetrads began after the expulsion. It is hardly of any use when one tells you after you have had something happen to you, that you were going to have something happen to you. Especially when the warning comes a year to two years late. I think we can dismiss this tetrad of being any special importance

The next tetrad was tied to the creation of the state of Israel. Israel declared itself the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, which was followed with a war, which was followed with their acceptance by the U.N. on May 11, 1949. Again, although there was one eclipse just before the U.N. accepted Israel into membership, the rest were after the fact. In fact the first one came a year late, considering they declared their independence a year earlier, and according to Jewish tradition these eclipses are signs of bad omens. It would seem that coming right before their acceptance as a country, it was a good omen. So again, God was late to the party, giving the warnings after the fact.

The last tetrad is tied to the Six-Day War in Israel which commenced on June 5 and ended June 10, 1967. Again, God only got one eclipse in shortly before the event, and the other three came after the fact. God does seem to have a problem with getting to the party on time. Three misses out of three tetrads.

Due to their tying these tetrads into these events, they postulated that the coming tetrads will fulfill the prophecy about which the Scriptures in Joel, Acts, and Revelation speak, therefore there is a major event for Israel about to occur. This is a 50/50 gamble, as everyone has been expecting something to happen in Israel for decades.

Before we show how these tetrads do not fulfill these Scriptures, let us consider some other facts. First of all, there were six tetrads that Mr. Biltz found. The other three were non-events. Coupled with the fact that these other three came more or less after the events, what basis do we have for believing that the upcoming tetrad has any significance? None, really. The odds are not on Messieurs Biltz and Hagee's side. In fact, it appears that these tetrads had nothing to do with the events, and certainly were not portents of them, as they came after and sometimes well after the events occurred. And why would God not warn them of the Holocaust during WWII, if He is using eclipses to warn them of major events of a negative nature? If He were going to warn them of something, would that not have been a good time to warn them?

Another fact to consider is that the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. The feasts of Passover and Sukkot come on the 15th of the month. The full moon would come at the same time the feasts come during the month every year, so is it really so miraculous to think that occasionally there would be an eclipse of the full moon that coincided with these two feasts? And why is Mr. Biltz so sure that these eclipses will be blood moons? Not every eclipse is. 

The following information was found at The link is below.

"However, a wide range of color and brightness can be found in lunar eclipses. This is based on atmospheric conditions at the time including dust and humidity levels. While the color of some total lunar eclipses could be compared to blood, others are more orange, similar to a pumpkin. Still other eclipses look yellow, and some are very dark—virtually black. One of the most unusual total lunar eclipses was the very long one on July 6, 1982. Half of the earth’s umbra was as dark as coal, but the other half was rather bright and had a peach-like color. No one alive could remember such an unusual-looking lunar eclipse, nor were there any similar reports of past eclipses. In short, most lunar eclipses don’t appear blood-like, so it is a bit presumptuous to assume that any particular future eclipse—or, in this case, four eclipses—must of necessity be 'blood moons'

Total lunar eclipses aren’t that unusual; there will be 85 total lunar eclipses in the twenty-first century. The greatest length of time between two consecutive total lunar eclipses is only three years. In between these “droughts” will be occurrences of three or even four total lunar eclipses, each separated by about six months. A little more than half the earth’s surface can witness at least a portion of a particular eclipse.

The moon’s orbit around the earth is tilted a little more than five degrees with respect to the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun (known as the ecliptic). So normally a full moon is above or below the earth’s umbra, and no eclipse occurs. Each month the moon’s orbit crosses the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun in two places, points that we call the lunar nodes. If a full moon occurs when the moon is near a node, then there is a lunar eclipse. (Conversely, a new moon at this time results in a solar eclipse.) There are two times per year when the nodes are roughly aligned with a full moon. These eclipse seasons are little more than a month long, and they are separated by a little less than six months. The moon’s orbit precesses in an 18.6-year period, so the eclipse seasons shift about 20 days earlier each year. The result is that the possibility of lunar eclipses happening around the times of Passover and Sukkot (which are six months apart) repeats roughly half of this 18.6-year period. Passover and Sukkot are always at full moon and always six months apart. Hence, any lunar eclipse that happens near the equinoxes must fall on or within a day of Passover (spring) or Sukkot (autumn). Therefore the coincidence of these festivals with lunar eclipses is not as rare as Biltz implies."

So we can see that first of all, it is not remarkable or unusual for there to be an eclipse on the day of the Jewish Feasts of Passover and Sukkot. Nor it is unusual for several of them to occur six months apart. Nor to happen several years in a row. The odds of them being blood moons is unlikely, so to state that all four will be blood moons, when one cannot possibly know what the atmospheric conditions will be is ludicrous at best.

A problematic question that must be asked is this, why when the Scriptures imply this is a single event, do they say that these four events are the fulfillment of the Scriptures? Would not one eclipse do?

One last problem concerning the four eclipses themselves is that they are are not seen over the whole world as the Scriptures imply this event will be seen. They are only seen on the opposite side of the world from Israel. The last one is seen somewhat in Europe, but none are available for viewing in the very land that is supposed to view them as portents of their future. Does it not seem odd that God would not show these eclipses to the very people they are supposed to warn? 

Approaching the problem from another direction, we find that Mr. Biltz and likewise Mr. Hagee use only the passage in Joel to make their point. As the passage in Acts is taken as a quote from Joel, we will consider that this is the same verse. They look to the book of Revelation to verify that these signs are what they say they are, the signs of the coming apocalypse. As pre-tribulationists, they believe that the rapture occurs before the sixth seal, so this fits nicely with their ideology. But does Revelation really give credence to their theory? Let's take a closer look at that passage in Revelation.

Revelation 6:12-14 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 
We see that there is a little more at work here than a blood moon. The sun becomes black or goes dark at the same exact time. But solar and lunar eclipses do not happen at the same time. In fact it is impossible for them to occur at the same time, so it is quite impossible that if the sun must go dark too, that these lunar eclipses are what are being spoken of. The only possible thing that could cause both to be eclipsed would be for some other rogue celestial body to come into our sphere of influence. Added to these things, we find there is more than just the sun going dark and the moon becoming blood red. According to Revelation the stars also fall to earth. As realistically we know that the stars way out in space are not going to fall to earth, we must look for another explanation. Does one come to mind? Yes, easily. When meteorites fall to earth, we in fact call them falling stars. It would appear that there will be a lot of meteors, and possibly small asteroids falling to the earth causing it to look like the stars are falling or going out. And that is what we also find in the passage in Joel in an earlier verse than Messieurs Biltz and Hagee use. 
Joel 2:10 “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.”

This star shower can also be found in the gospel passages that describe this event.

Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”

Mark 13:24-25 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.”

Luke is not quite as detailed, but he does mention that the stars are involved in this event.

Luke 21:25-26 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
We find that this event is not only described in Joel in the Old Testament, but in Ezekiel and Isaiah also. 

Ezekiel 32:7-8 “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.”

Isaiah 13:10, 13 “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine....Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.” 
Isaiah 34:4 “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”

Joel 3:15-16a “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.”

If one looks back at these verses, there is another component that the two gentlemen seem to miss. The earth will be shaken. There will be great earthquakes or possible one mega earthquake, for the whole earth is affected by this. Every island and mountain will be moved out of its place. It is so bad that according to Isaiah, it will actually alter the earth's orbital position, for it will be moved out of its place. There has never been an eclipse of the moon that has caused an earthquake, much less one that could move the earth out of its orbit. This is obviously not speaking of a lunar eclipse. It is speaking of something far greater and terribly devastating. An eclipse does not hurt the earth in any manner. This event will make people run to the caves to hide out of fear. 
Revelation 6:15-16 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”
Clearly this Blood Moon Theory is a theory that comes from the imagination of some men. It is not based upon Scripture. Its only foundational basis is that there is a tradition in Judaism that eclipses of the moon have some significance for Israel. From there this entire theory was born, using one verse of Scripture out of context from the rest of the parallel passages. One can only see dollar signs as the reason for propagating a teaching that can easily be shown to not line up with Scripture. That God uses the celestial bodies as signs and portents is not in question. He does. And these eclipses might well occur before something disastrous happens, as the situation in the Middle East is always ready to blow. But to say that these four eclipses are 1)blood moons, which cannot be known until the day they occur as to whether they will be red or not, 2) are in a line of historical tetrads that have been portents, which clearly has been shown to be wrong, 3) only happen as a sign from God that something is about to occur, which is not true as they happen all the time due to the fact that these feasts fall on the full moon all the time, and 4) are the fulfillment of the signs given in Revelation, which clearly they are not, is deception at best. Such poor scholarship is inexcusable from men who are reaching and teaching thousands of people.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Yea Hath God Said?

“Yea, hath God said....?”

Four simple little words, but oh, how they can cause damage. These are the first four words that Satan spoke to Eve. And because she agreed that God did not mean exactly what He said, we now suffer the consequences of that terrible decision, namely sin. Christ had to die to undo that terrible mistake. Yet still today, Satan finds that these four words are his best weapon against Christians, for if there is one thing that causes a great deal of dispute, it is the subject of what God's Word – His literal words - says.

I cannot count the number of times I have read something like this, “I know what the text says, but that doesn't mean you have to interpret it that way.” In fact, I read those very words just yesterday. Today I read another comment by someone and they said basically the same thing. “You say it can't get much clearer than that! [the text] all sounds so cut and dry, I admit that....but...” Now here are two people that both admit that the text says something that is clearly understood in its straightforward reading, yet both of them argue that God does not mean what He said. In other words, Satan has managed to convince them, just as he convinced Eve that God does not actually mean what He has said.

Now my question is, if that were really the case, how on earth is God supposed to communicate something to us, if we constantly argue with Him that He cannot possibly mean what He has said? How many times when our children have misbehaved and deliberately done something that we have clearly and unmistakeably told them not to do, have they said that they did not understand us to have actually meant what we said? They choose to “interpret” what we have said in order to disobey us. I am sure every parent has had this happen at least once in their child-rearing years.

I cannot begin to count the number of people who have told me that God's Word is not to be understood in a straightforward manner, but that we are to “interpret” it in a symbolic or spiritualized way. Many well-known preachers even preach that we are to do this. The problem becomes, we have been told by God, through Peter, that we are not to try to put a personal or private interpretation upon His Word, especially prophecy. We are told it is not our place to “interpret” it, 2 Peter 1:20 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of private interpretation.” Now considering that the vast majority of the Bible is prophecy, (not only all the major and minor prophets and Revelation, but also much of the gospels, epistles, Psalms, and Torah. And I am fairly sure that there are verses here and there in the few books not mentioned as well. That means that most of the Bible is not up for private interpretation. Therefore God actually means what He says, and He wants us to understand Him exactly as He has said it. So to say that, well, yes, you know that what is said makes sense as written, but you choose not to believe it is simply rebellion against God. Just as Eve rebelled against God.

Now I know that some read this will argue that there is more behind God's words than what is simply written - that there is symbolism as well, such as Abraham offering Isaac being a picture of God offering His Son. I will not deny that this is true. And naturally God's Word includes metaphors, anthropomorphisms, and similar grammatical devices, which we should intelligently be able to separate out. There are also visions, which God always interprets for us, so we need not try to interpret them ourselves. BUT, and this is a big BUT, besides those few things, we must always first and foremost accept what is written at the face value level and understand God's Word at that level before looking for any other meaning. THEN and ONLY then can we move on to look for the deeper meaning that may be symbolic. And this second or even third level of understanding will NEVER contradict the face value meaning at the first level. If we skip over the first level and try to “interpret” God's Word without a foundational understanding, we turn it into nonsense, for with no foundational truth underneath our interpretation, it will not stand up, but collapse under its own weight. Any theories derived without a foundational truth underneath it will only be a false interpretation and will lead one from the truth, not to it. This is why we find so many doctrines throughout the churches in Christendom. Instead of staying with a straightforward understanding, a great many of the “great scholars” or “giant Christian leaders” through the centuries have propagated their own private interpretation, which then became doctrine and then dogma. The very thing we were told not to do, was done by the very leaders of the church in defiance of God's command, and look where it has led us. People do not study their Bibles, our pastors do not study their Bibles, everyone studies their churches dogmas and doctrines and then defends them to the hilt, by using their privately derived interpretations of the Word of God, skewing His Word in whatever way is necessary for them to validate their beliefs. This is not what we were supposed to do.

So the question again becomes, “Yea, hath God said?” And our answer to that question posed by Satan to this day should be, “Yes, He most certainly has.”