Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Revelation 19:11-13

Verse 11-13 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.”

Now we see Christ as the Judge and King, coming to destroy His enemies. He is riding a white horse. The color of heaven seems to be white. I once was given a book to read by a relatively new young Christian. The book was the supposed vision a woman had of heaven and the "new revelation" that came because of that so-called vision. Being a new Christian as well as young in age, she had little discernment and I was grateful that she came to me to get my opinion. It did not take me going much past the first few pages to realize this was a vision from Satan to this woman (and in reading the book it was very New Age in ideology), as the angels were dressed in brown. Anybody who has read Scripture knows that the color of the raiment from heaven is white. So this rider has white raiment and a white horse. This however is the original white knight, not the imitation that we saw in the first seal. We know it is the original as He is called the Faithful and True. Christ has been called faithful and true before in the Scriptures. (Rev. 3:14) These are not just character descriptions. He is the personification of faithfulness and truth.

He is righteous and it is in righteousness that He will judge and make war against His enemies. They have no excuses for what they have done. They are guilty in the sight of God and must be punished. They will righteously deserve what they are about to receive. This Judge is incapable of anything but a fair and just judgment.

Here we again see a picture of Him that we saw in the early chapters of Revelation, where His eyes are flaming with righteous judgment. (Rev. 1:14, 2:18) He is wearing multiple crowns or diadems. The beast had many heads each with a single crown. Christ has one head with many crowns or diadems. He is the King of Kings. He is also the Prince of Peace, the King of Righteousness, Lord of Lords, and other titles. Each one deserves a crown.

He had a name written that nobody but He Himself knows. This is a mystery. John must see a name written somewhere to have made this comment, but for some reason it cannot be read or known. Jesus’ name is Yeshua (This is a transliteration of His actual name. As it is originally written in Hebrew, there is no definitive way of spelling it in English). Jesus is the Greek version of the name, as is Joshua in English. We do Yeshua a disservice by calling Him Jesus, as that is not what He was called by everyone who knew Him. Would you like to be called by some foreign version of your name, instead of by your name? Christ is also a Greek title. It means “anointed” which in Hebrew is Mashiach (again the spelling is a transliteration). So by rights we should be calling Him, Yeshua haMashiach, not Jesus (the) Christ. When they began to follow Yeshua, He gave some of His disciples name changes. Cephas became Peter. God did this in the Old Testament also. Abram became Abraham, and Sarai, Sarah. God gives all of us a new name when we become His. Yeshua may have another name that we do not know Him by yet. Whatever that name is, He alone knows it. When Moses asked God for His name so that he could tell the Israelites which God was sending Him, God told him, “I am that I am.” There are no vowels in Hebrew, which makes the pronunciation of words difficult if you do not know how they sound. When God told the Israelites not to take His name in vain, the priests decided to make it impossible to do so by not allowing the people to know how the name of God was pronounced. It was a secret that only the priests knew and passed on. From what I understand, it has been completely lost, due to the fact that there has been no temple or priests for almost 2000 years. God knows His name, and Yeshua (who is also part of the Godhead) knows His name, but we do not.

He is clothed in a vesture or garment dipped in blood. I had surmised earlier that Yeshua (as we shall now call Him) had done battle bringing His people back into Jerusalem. (see blog entry Rev. 14:2-5). This would explain the blood stained garments, as if He is coming directly from heaven without having been to earth before, there is no reason the garments should be bloodstained. It makes sense that if a previous battle was a correct deduction based on the Scriptures, His battle array would already be bloodied.

His name is called the Word of God. John in his gospel began with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Yeshua is the Word incarnate. The Bible, the Word of God, is an entire picture of Yeshua. He is the literal embodiment of that book. We have prophecies about Him from the first book of Genesis on. The Torah and its laws are a picture of Him, His Comings and His work on the cross. The New Testament gospels are about His first and second comings, and all the prophets, some of the epistles, and Revelation are about His return. Everything points to or describes Him in some way. It is like one of those paintings that from a distance looks like a single person, but when you get up very close, you find that it is made up of thousands of tiny pictures of other people. The shading of those tiny pictures creates the larger picture when put in the correct order and pattern. That is why studying the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is imperative to get a true and accurate picture of God and Yeshua. Otherwise you end up with a distorted picture that has flaws. This is why so many people do not understand God, or Yeshua, or what God wants from us. They do not understand that the Bible is a complete picture and that you cannot leave out parts of it and expect to see what the big picture is. I have repeatedly found that Gentile Christians all but ignore the Old Testament, and Messianic Jews all but ignore the New Testament. There seems to be no middle ground, which is where we should all be - accepting both the Old and New Testaments.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More news on Israel

A lot of news about what is going on in the Middle East does not reach our ears through our media, as they 1) do not deem it important, or 2) feel that we should be kept in the dark. It is sometimes hard to get information as to what is going on, so I hear about things well after the fact. Here are some interesting things that you may not know.

The Sanhedrin, which was disbanded in AD 359 was reconvened in 2005. The last act that the Sanhedrin performed before disbanding was to create a perpetual Jewish calendar. What that means is the following. God has instructions in the Bible as to how the calendar is supposed to decided from year to year. At the end of the 12th month of the year, they are to examine the barley harvest and decide if it is mature enough, just before the sighting of the new moon, to allow for the offering of the first fruits after Passover on the 14th of that month. If not, they are to add a 13th month. As their 12 month calendar does not contain 365 days, the months move backwards through the season as years pass. Added to this is weather conditions which will affect the maturation of the barley harvest. As a result, they could never know whether or not a year would be a 12 or 13 month year until the end of the 12th month when they looked at the barley harvest. After the diaspora, with the Sanhedrin disbanding, there would be nobody to make the declaration, so they came up with a perpetual calendar that arbitrarily added a 13th month every so many years, so as to put the calendar back into sync with a 365 day year. As astronomy tells us exactly when a new moon will occur, they were also able to decide which months would be 29 days and which would be 30 in length. As a result, there may have been years when a 13th month would not have been added according to the barley harvest, but it was added because it was in the calendar. The same thing could happen in reverse in that a month may not have been added when it should have been.

Karaite (meaning readers of the Hebrew Scriptures) Judaism (this is a movement originating in Baghdad in the 7-9 centuries) recognizes the Bible or Tanakh as the only supreme authority in Jewish religious law as well as theology. It is different from Rabbinic Judaism which considers the Oral law, the decisions of the Sanhedrin as found in the Talmud, and rabbinic commentaries to be as or actually more valid than the Tanakh. Karaites maintain that all of the commandments of God are recorded in the written Word of God without the need for additional revelation or explanation. Therefore they do not accept the Talmud or Mishnah. They strive to adhere to the most obvious meaning of the text, which does not necessarily mean the most literal, but understanding it the way ancient Israelites would have understood it. Karaites are Bereans in that they hold any interpretation up to scrutiny regardless of who is teaching, and teach that it is the personal responsibility of every person to study the Torah for themselves to decide what is correct. They have a saying which parallels one we find in the New Testament, "Study the Torah diligently, and do not be dependent on my opinion." ("Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.") Karaites were at one time a significant proportion of the Jewish population. Today it is estimated that there are as many as 30,000 Karaites or more worldwide, with 20,000–25,000 of them living in Israel. This whole explanation of the Karaites is merely to point out that these few Jews have for centuries kept the proper agricultural calendar, as they would send someone to Israel to see the barley harvest each year to determine the proper months for the year. This has led to some interesting information which has escaped many people and which we will get back to presently.

Now that the Sanhedrin has been re-established it is interesting to see that they are no different from the Kabbalistic Pharisees of Jesus day. The following is a statement that they issued regarding the rebuilding of the temple.

"Out of a sense of collective responsibility for world peace and for all humanity we have found it timely to call to the World and exclaim that there is a way out for all peoples. It is etched in a call to all humanity: We are all the sons of one father, the descendants of Adam, and all humanity is but a single family. Peace among Nations will be achieved through building the House of G-d, where all peoples will serve as foreseen by King Solomon in his prayers at the dedication of the First Holy Temple. Come let us love and respect one another, and love and honor and hold our heavenly Father in awe. Let us establish a house of prayer in His name in order to worship and serve Him together, for the sake of His great compassion. He surely does not want the blood of His creations spilled, but prefers love and peace among all mankind. We pray to the Almighty Creator, that you harken to our Call. Together – each according to his or her ability – we shall work towards the building of the House of Prayer for All Nations on the Temple Mount in peace and mutual understanding."

Adnan Oktar, who is a controversial but influential Muslim author, met with representatives of the Sanhedrin to discuss how Muslims, Jews, and Christians can work together on rebuilding the temple. The objective of this cooperative effort would be an intellectual and spiritual battle against the growing tide of irreligiousness, immorality, and unbelief in the world.

Regarding the rebuilding of the Temple, Rabbi Hollander explained, "The building of the Temple is one of the stages in the Messianic process." But another possibility that has been presented is that the Dome of the Rock that sits so prominently on the Temple Mount be used as "a place prayer for all nations." "This should be fairly simple," explained Rabbi Hollander. "It is said that the structure of the Dome in Haram E-Sharrif (the Temple Mount) was originally meant by (Caliph) Omar to be a House of Prayer for Jews, and the Al-Aqsa for Muslims." It would have to be purified by Jewish standards however.

The explanation the Sanhedrin gives for this position is that in the Old Testament Scriptures it speaks of the House of God being a House of Prayer for all nations. Is. 56:7 "mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people." What they do not understand is that this speaks of the millennium, when God's House shall be a house of prayer for all nations, as Christ will be reigning as King and no other religion will exist. This whole attitude may make it much easier for the temple to go up than people expect.

The second piece of interesting information is that there is a kosher red heifer in Israel. They thought they had one back in 2002, but some white showed up on it. For those who do not understand the significance of the red heifer, this is a short synopsis. God commanded that Israel take a red heifer (must be completely red from top to bottom with not a single white hair) that is 3-4 years old, without any blemish, on which no yoke has ever been put to use it for work, and slaughter and burn it. The ashes were then mixed with spring water for a purification elixor. A person who had been exposed to death could not enter the temple without the sprinkling of the ashes to purify them. The temple today cannot begin its rituals without the ashes for the purification of the people. Last March in an interview, a member of the Temple Institute let it be known that they have at least one red heifer, and he indicated possibly more.

The next piece of info is that the Temple Institute has built an altar. It was built according to the law, so it is ready to be used in the temple. It was completed last Christmas. It was constructed so as to be mobile, so that they can take it up to the Mount and back again to keep it safe. Last Passover, they had tried to get permission to offer the first Paschal lamb since the temple was destroyed, but in light of the possible repercussions, they were refused permission. It is not necessary for the temple to be up for the sacrifices to begin. Oddly enough, that is what I said back when covering Daniel and the fact that the sacrifices will be stopped midway through the seven years. I had said that they could start sacrificing as soon as they built an altar, that they did not have to wait for the temple to be finished, and now they have the altar all ready. I also read that they have indicated that it would only take them three months to get the temple up, as I believe much of it is pre-fab, so to speak. Every year the Temple Mount Faithful organization takes a cornerstone, that has been specially hewn according to Scripture, up to the Temple Mount to lay for the foundation of the temple, but they always have to take it away again. Everything is now poised and ready for the temple to go up. The temple accoutrements, musical instruments, garments for the priests, even the recipes for the incense and shewbread are complete. The priests are trained and now there is a red heifer and an altar already built. The only thing that awaits the temple being built, is permission. Up until this time, things were not completely ready, but it would appear this is no longer the case.

Getting back to the agricultural calendar that the Karaites use, we know from history that God uses dates over and over to show patterns. He created the spring and fall festivals to be a foreshadow of Christ's two comings. So it would seem that when Israel became a nation again, May 15, 1948, midnight Israel time, that there would be some significance to the date. By the perpetual calendar, there was nothing significant, as it was not any special date, but going back to the Karaite agricultural calendar that God uses, it turns out that Israel became a nation on Sivan 6, which by the Jewish calendar is Shavuot or what Christians today call Pentecost. We know that Shavuot was the fulfilled (in one aspect) when the Holy Spirit was poured out, but we need to look at what other significance this festival held.

Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire Israelite nation assembled at Mount Sinai. The date of Shavuot is directly linked to that of Passover. The Torah mandates the seven-week Counting of the Omer beginning on day following the Sabbath of Passover and immediately followed by Shavuot. This counting of days and weeks is understood to express anticipation and desire for the Giving of the Torah. On Passover, the Jewish people were freed from their enslavement to Pharaoh; on Shavuot they were given the Torah and became a nation committed to serving God.

In the Bible, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks, the Festival of Reaping, and the Day of the First Fruits. Besides its significance as the day on which the Torah was revealed by God to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai , Shavuot is also connected to the season of the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. 5:24, Deut. 16:9-11, Isa. 9:2). It began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot. Shavuot was thus the concluding festival of the grain harvest, just as the eighth day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) was the concluding festival of the fruit harvest. During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, an offering of two loaves of bread from the wheat harvest was made on Shavuot. Shavuot was also the first day on which individuals could bring the Bikkurim (First fruits) to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Bikkurim were brought from the seven species for which the land of Israel is praised: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. At the Temple, each farmer would present his Bikkurim to a kohen (priest) in a ceremony that followed the text of Deut. 26:1-10. The text proceeds to retell the history of the Jewish people as they went into exile in Egypt and were enslaved and oppressed; following which God redeemed them and brought them to the land of Israel.

Shavuot has significance and fulfillment on many levels, as do all of the feasts. We know that as the Day of the First Fruits it was fulfilled with the giving of the Holy Spirit to people of many nations (the seven species of fruit). We will see how it may be fulfilled in another way as the Feast of Weeks, but for now the association with Israel becoming a nation again seems to be the significance, as it is the celebration of God redeeming His people and bringing them into the land of Israel, yet again.

So Israel became a nation on Shavuot in 1948. Now we need to look at some other Scriptures. In Matthew 24:34 it says, "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." A generation has two countings in the Bible, one is forty (forty years wilderness) and the other is seventy (the approximate life span of a man). Forty years is far too short a time for a generation to pass, (and forty years has gone by with no results) so it would seem that seventy years is the number we should consider. Also if we look at Daniel's 70th week on another level (we had looked at the seventy sevens as being seven sets of seven years, as that is what Daniel was praying about, the missed Sabbath years for which they went into exile.) we can see that there may be another level of interpretation. If the 70 also represented 70 years, we can see a correlation. We are presently in year 63. If the 70th week of Daniel were to star this year, it would end at the 70th year. What makes that significant is that by Jewish law, a young man went to war at the age of 20. Ages were counted from the time of birth, not as we count them. Therefore they were considered one year old at birth, meaning we would consider 19 years of age, what they consider 20. The Six Day War in Israel happened during the 2oth year of Israel's life. They went to war.

God told Israel to number the years in the following way: every seventh day was a Sabbath day and they were to rest. Every seventh year was a Sabbath year and the land was to rest. After every seventh set of seven years (49 years) they were to set aside the 50th years as the year of Jubilee and it was a mega Sabbath year in that all debts were canceled, all property returned, all slaves set free etc. They were to start counting the years toward the Jubilee when they entered the land. Even though Israel has celebrated 50 years as a nation, nothing happened that year that would show that God saw it as special. But there was one problem. They did not really enter the land when the nation was declared. They still did not own Jerusalem, God's holy place on earth where His throne is. It is most probable that when they captured Jerusalem in 1967, God then saw them as entering the land, and the countdown to the year of Jubilee began. What makes this interesting is that if one starts counting the Jubilee year from then, the year of Jubilee will fall on the same year as the 70th year from the birth of the nation, or the length of a generation. While I do not know the Scriptural defense for what I am about to write, and therefore cannot say it is true from that respect, it is said that Christ will return in a Jubilee year. It is also said Christ will return in a Sabbath year. The Jubilee year is a Sabbath year.
As God is giving Israel seven more years, the seventh year in the 70th week of Daniel would also be a Sabbath year, and we know Christ will return at the end of it. If it also lines up with a Jubilee year, then one would expect that it is possible that 2017 is the year for Christ's return, as it is both the 70th year, and a Jubilee year by God's reckoning. If that supposition is true, it would mean that the 70th week of Daniel would begin this fall, as we know that the 70th week ends at the time of the fall festivals, so it would have to begin there also. While the perpetual calendar says that Rosh HaShanah (New Year) is on Sept. 9, with Yom Kippur on the 18th and Sukkot on the 23, the Karaite calendar says that Rosh HaShanah is on the 11th, with the other holidays on the 20th and 25th respectively.

As Iran has been given nuclear fuel by Russia, and so far Israel has not done anything, we must wonder what will be next. I do not think it will be long before something happens, so we need to watch vigilantly as the month of September passes.

I have a tendency to get frustrated with people who dogmatically cling to things, when shown Scripturally that there might be another interpretation. It is foolish not to be open to God's correction and with that in mind, I need to speak on something I recently was shown. One of the greatest problems I have had with understanding the book of Daniel is his penchant for not putting antecedents before his pronouns. He goes from pronoun to pronoun without ever indicating to which antecedent he is referring. In this case, I am again speaking of the passage about the 70 weeks. In Daniel 9 26:27 it says, "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease..." I, as have others, use the English grammatical way of choosing the antecedent to determine to whom the pronoun refers. In this case, the last antecedent was the prince, therefore many have assumed that he is the one who makes the covenant. I am at least different in that I have said that this does not indicate a covenant that will be visible for us to notice, nor did it say that it necessarily was with Israel, as it says "with many." The other interpretation I have heard is from replacement theologians, who say that this is a spiritual covenant that Christ is making with Christians and that the entire abomination is not a physical desecration of the temple, but something that goes on in the hearts of Christians. Because I find that completely erroneous, given that I believe in a literal interpretation that indicates a real physical temple will be built on the Temple Mount, I dismissed that the "he" spoken of was Christ. That is another problem with the Bible, while we now have a tendency to capitalized pronouns that refer to the Godhead, the Bible does not. All of this has been the long story to get to the point. I have been made to consider that what is being said in this passage is that God will again confirm the Holy Covenant (after 2000 years hiatus) for seven years. That clearly makes sense, as we have already been told that he will grant Israel seven more years. When He does that, He is again initiating the Holy Covenant that He made with Abraham. He has been divorced from Israel for almost 2000 years. He will now re-confirm the "marriage" covenant He once made with them. If this is the correct interpretation, then there will be no peace agreement between antichrist and Israel, as the majority of people believe. This covenant will be revealed to us by the rebuilding of the temple. In other words, the temple itself is the sign of the covenant being confirmed, as Israel has to have a temple to worship God. While Gentiles are not beholden to all the rituals that God created, the ordinances and statues are to be perpetual for Israel throughout all generations. That means they have to have a temple if they are again reconnected to God. This does not mean that they have to accept Christ to build the temple. They will first just get back their old relationship, then God will bring them into a relationship with the Messiah. Israel's eyes are opened when the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled, and that is not until the 1260 days are over. When Christ appears, Israel believes. They are left here to endure the bowl judgments and populate the millennium.

My intention is to get back to Revelation, but as September is almost upon us, I felt impelled to get this information out to any who might be reading, so that if something does happen, they will understand. If nothing happens by the winter, it is safe to assume that we are safe until next year, as it has to begin sometime from the early fall to early winter in order for Christ to return seven years later at the fall feasts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

News in Israel

We interrupt this blog for the latest news on Israel. Today there was an article on Fox News that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said that Israel has until Saturday Aug. 21 to make a pre-emptive strike on Iran. This could be the catalyst to start WWIII. It will be interesting to watch the events unfold and see if this leads to a temple being built, and a person rising to pre-eminence. As in my blog I had theorized that is it possible that the antichrist will be the Muslim Mahdi, this bears close watching to see what develops. We all need to be praying for the peace of Jerusalem.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Revelation 19:9-10

Verse 9 “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

Here we have what could be called another beatitude. Blessed are.......those which are called. Notice is says called, not chosen. Being called is an invitation. Specifically this is an invitation to a wedding, and just like any invitation to a wedding it requires an R.S.V.P. This invitation is the gospel message. Those who accept it (R.S.V.P in the positive) are the chosen and blessed. So many people quote the verse that says, "Many are called, but few are chosen" as evidence that God elects us and compels us by his forcible will, not by anything we do. God's Word does not say that a few are chosen and the rest can go straight to hell, or that Christ only died for a few special people chosen by God. It says that God calls everyone. That Christ died for everyone. That everyone is invited to the wedding; however, He foreknows who will choose by their will to accept His invitation and therefore chooses to elect those particular people. (We have covered this before.) That is how and why we are chosen. Those that have been called to attend this marriage supper are blessed, both the bride and the guests, because they accepted the invitation, and God provided the way and the proper attire for them to come. Scriptures imply that Israel is God's wife, (whom He divorces) and prior Old Testament saints appear more to be friends of the groom, so it would appear that the Lamb is only marrying the church age saints. This would make sense, as the Old Testament saints did not know Christ, and Israel has her special relationship with the Father.

The marriage supper is about to take place. This is the event for which all Christians look forward, or at least should look forward. This is the event which is symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the feast that God demands that everyone keep during the millennium, and if it is not kept, that nation will suffer severe drought. While now we celebrate the Lord’s Supper - or His sacrifice - from His first coming, then we will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles - His wedding anniversary - from His second coming. Zech.14:16-19 “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. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” This cannot speak of any other time than the future, as the whole earth is obligated to show up in Jerusalem to keep this feast, not just Israel. Note that Egypt is especially mentioned and picked upon by God for judgment above all the heathen nations. Egypt has long been a sore spot with God, and for good reason, which will not be entered into at the moment.

Here is a perfect example of how God's laws, which are meant for our good and enjoyment, can be obstinately perceived by people as a burden. If the nations were not going to try to ignore this feast, God would not have taken the time to put this warning in the Scriptures. He did so, because this is no doubt going to be a problem. How stupid is that? He gives everyone an eight day holiday to celebrate and people kick and feel put upon? Why is it people look forward to Christmas as a great holiday and love taking the day off from work (and this is a man-made holiday), but when God gives them a week off to celebrate they hate it? It is completely illogical. It's the same with the Sabbath. We have the perfect excuse to take a day off from all work, yet people gripe(d) about having to observe it. Honestly, how stupid and stubborn can the human race get? God certainly has infinitely more patience than I would have in His place.

Back to the is this marriage feast to which Christ was referring when He told the disciples at the Passover that He would not drink wine with them again until He drank with them in His Father’s kingdom. Matt. 26:29 “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Yes, there will be wine-drinking in the kingdom of God. Whether one believes alcohol is permissible in the here and now or not, (which is strictly a personal matter, and nobody should put an obstacle in front of a weaker brother) wine will be served at this wedding feast. In fact, an abundant supply of good wine is a sign of God's blessing according to Scripture, but that is another study for another time.

Here the speaker says that these are the true sayings of God. All of God’s sayings are true and are to be trusted that they will be fulfilled. His promises are kept no matter what Satan does to try to stop them from being kept. He is assuring us that no matter how bad things will get, we can count on (as long as we endure to the end) looking forward to this marriage. We will need to hold onto that promise in the days ahead to keep us faithful. That also means that Israel as a nation will have her promised reign over the earth as the premier nation, as God promised that to them and He is bound to keep His promise. No matter what "replacement theology" teaches (for those who do not know, they teach that Israel has been replaced by the church and has nothing to do with anything anymore), Israel will have her day, or more accurately, her millennium, as shown in the verses quoted above.

Verse 10 “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

John falls down at the feet of this speaker. The speaker emphatically tells him to not worship him, as he is but a fellow servant and brother in Christ. This is interesting, as before these events either an elder, angel, or Christ spoke to John. Now a fellow saint must be speaking to John, as he identifies himself as one who has the testimony of Jesus and is a brethren and fellow servant. This speaker tells John to worship God, not him. It may be possible that John recognizes this person and is in awe of him, which is why he bows, but that is a serious mistake and he should know that. We are to worship none but the Godhead. He is appropriately chastised.

The speaker also tells John that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. This book of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus and it is all prophecy about that which is to come. So many Christians believe it is irrelevant or historical, but it is the most important book for a Christian to understand. The gospels are most important to the unsaved. Revelation is most important to the saved. It is their lifeline to the future, as only through understanding what is to come, can one persevere and endure it. That is why God attached a special blessing for those who read and heed what is written in it. It would seem superfluous to do so, if the book is irrelevant. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. These events will hit many like an unexpected tsunami and wash many of them away. There will be things happening that will destroy the faith of some, as they were not mentally, physically, and especially spiritually prepared to face them. So many today ride out their Christian faith based upon emotions instead of a will-based decision. It is a determined act of the will, faith that has intellectual reason and a complete grasp of the scriptures supporting it, not wavering emotions, that keep us going on in the Lord when everything around us is collapsing. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” 2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Knowledge is very important to God. It is essential for us. Of those who are not washed away (lose their faith) and do endure in faith, because their faith is not emotional but substantial, probably most will suffer martyrdom. This is in part because they still have not studied and lack knowledge of coming events, and therefore do not know how to prepare to endure and survive in a physical sense. Not that there is any guarantee of survival just because one does know, but it certainly increases the odds. Perhaps this is the very blessing which is referred to in chapter one of Revelation.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Revelation 19:6-8

Verse 6-7 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”

Now all of heaven together praises God announcing the fact that the world now again belongs to God and He alone reigns. They also announce the marriage of the Lamb and the fact that now his wife, (the church) has been made ready. She has been purged of all of her sins and refined and made fit to be the wife of the Lamb.

Verse 8 “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

From chapter 11 we know that when the seventh angel (the vials judgments) sounds the last trumpet it is said that it is the time for the dead to be judged (first resurrection), and for the prophets and saints to be rewarded, and that those who destroy the earth should be destroyed. Over the years this time of judging (this is the first resurrection and only those who love the Lord get resurrected at this judgment) and rewarding has come to be known as the Judgment Seat of Christ or more commonly the Bema Seat Judgment. Much is taught about the Bema Seat Judgment for Christians. The concept and terminology of the Bema Seat comes from the ancient Olympics, where a judge would sit on the Bema Seat at the finish line. The judge's purpose was to determine what position the runners came in - first, second, and so on-and then to give out the appropriate rewards. That is the imagery behind what is known as the Bema Seat. The word “Bema” simply means the raised platform from which a service is conducted, or the altar area of a sanctuary.

This judgment seat is described in 1 Cor. 3:12-15 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble--every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built upon it, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet as by fire.” We are judged for the motives and obedience of our good works, not for the works themselves as to how spectacular they were. Giving a cup of cold water may leave a gold piece after the refining fire, while giving millions may be burned up as hay.

The Bema Seat Judgment is not a place where salvation or lack thereof is determined. For Christians who have endured to the end, that decision was determined upon their death. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The judgment for sinners comes later on and is known as the Great White Throne Judgment. The Bema Seat is where we give an account of how we either lived our lives for the Lord or for ourselves. Rom. 14:10-12 “But why doest thou judge thy brother? Or why doest thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So, then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” It is not a time I am looking forward to myself, as I know I could be doing much better than I am. It will be a time of humiliation for many people. While our sins are forgiven, we may still possibly have to give an account of our sins, and Christ will be our advocate thereby letting us off the hook for punishment for those sins. 2 Cor. 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Would that I could always keep that in the forefront of my mind. As for rewards, many will have a distinct smell of smoke lingering after the refining fire, and no jewels and precious metals left to throw at Christ’s feet. There is a common saying, “You can’t take it with you.” Whenever someone says that to me, I always reply with, “I may not be able to take it with me, but I can certainly send it on ahead.” Whenever we do a good work with the right motive or behave correctly in a Christian manner when treated badly, mocked, or persecuted, we add jewels to our treasure chest in heaven. We can send it on ahead.

God grants that the bride be clothed in white linen. Without Christ we would have no hope of salvation or of righteous works. It is only through Christ that we are granted the grace to have and do these things. God gives us righteousness and He also gives us the good works to do, however in all cases we must pick up the gift or do the good work. We can refuse both if we so choose, which is something that many people do not acknowledge. Some say we are chosen (by definition it would then have to be arbitrarily done if there is nothing within us individually to make God choose us) and compelled to accept Christ. If that is the case, it is no longer of free will and no longer would our love for God be of our own free will, yet that was the whole idea behind the Garden of Eden test - free will. It is only through choosing (By our intellectual will, not our spirit - we are indeed spiritually dead before accepting Christ. The will and spirit are two different things, just as God the Father and Christ the Son are two different beings, yet one being. Add to the intellect (will), and spirit, the body and you have a triune being, which is how we exist in the image of the triune God.) to accept all that God has done for us that opens the door for God to justify us, cleanse us of our unrighteousness, extend us the faith, and provide us with the good works by which we can earn our rewards, which we then give back to him. Some have a problem with this concept, because they feel if we accept it we have a part in providing our own salvation, and we cannot provide our own salvation, therefore we have no choice in the matter. Our choice to accept does not mean that we are providing for our own salvation. No matter how much we may want it, it still requires God choosing to give it to us. Nothing can force Him to do that including our decision to accept His gift. It is still all His doing, no matter what we decide, therefore our decision does not make us responsible for the justification Christ provided through His death on the cross. We still have to maintain that faith through doing the good works and walking with God though. While God gives us the opportunity for these works, again we can choose not to do them. Thus we are responsible in that respect for maintaining our relationship with God. He never moves or changes, but we can. So the fine white linen that the bride wears is the righteousness that has been granted to her by God. He has provided the means for her salvation and has extended it to her when she has accepted the invitation.

In the course of researching, I came across information that lends a new idea to whom the bride of Christ is. I cannot say whether it is accurate or not, but it is of enough interest that I thought it should be included here. When a couple was married (during Bible times) people would take palm leaves and wave and throw them in front of the couple. There was a virtual parade leading up to the wedding. The couple were king and queen for a day and were treated as such. The idea was put forth that the saints on the sea of glass with palm branches in their hands are the guests at the wedding who are going to do all the palm waving, and only those who make it through to the rapture alive, who sing the song of Moses are the actual bride of Christ. It is an interesting comparison, but I cannot say whether it is directly comparable to the situation or not.