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.