"...(and) entered into the New Covenant in the land of Damascus
...Those who guard (the precepts) are the poor of the sheep.
These will escape the the time of the visitation.
But, thos who remain will be handed over to the sword
when the Messiah of Aaron and Israel comes."
The Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scrolls
For 2000 years, the Jews have suffered incredible persecution at the hands of evil men. This is because, according to Jesus Christ in Luke 19:41-44, the Jews did not know the time of their visitation of the Messiah. Such is the price, not of ignorance, but of disobedience.
Did God have the right to punish the Jews for their disobedience? In order to have that right, I believe you must have knowledge of the event, and then intentionally disobey before one would have right to hold you responsible for your actions.
So, did the ancient Jews have foreknowledge of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and the season of His coming, and then intentionally ignore the signs and intentionally reject the Passover Lamb?
The answer to that is; Absolutely yes! Therefore, in answer to our question; Yes, God had every right to punish the Jews.
My "Bible" is called: "The Scriptures" of the Institute for Scripture Research (PTY) Ltd., of South Africa. The Scriptures was written primarily for the Messianic Jew, but can be very beneficial to any serious student of the Holy Word who truly wishes to fully understand the New Covenant (New Testament, or Messianic Scriptures).
However, I use The Scriptures because, I love the language and the diligence given to accurately translating the ancient manuscripts. Especially when it comes to the name of the Messiah. They correctly call Him by His proper Hebrew name, Yeshua, rather than the improper Greek name of Jesus.
You may ask; What is the difference? Suppose you have a visitor from Mexico named Diego. This is Spanish for James. But, we are in the United States and do not normally speak Spanish. With that in mind, would you call him James? After all, you dont speak Spanish. You speak English. No, you would not call him James. You would call him by his name,...Diego.
Why? Because, that is his name. Regardless of the languages we speak, we would call our visitor by his given name. That is the proper thing to do. And, in The Scriptures, the Messiah is called Yeshua, because that is His precious name.
The writers of The Scriptures teach, and I agree, the Word of God was originally written, in its entirety, in Hebrew. This is from Genesis to The Revelation. It was then, over time, translated into Greek, Aramaic, Latin and hundreds of other languages. However, the original manuscripts were written in Hebrew, by Jews who spoke Hebrew.
However, for the ease of the reader, I will use my New American Standard Bible (NASB). As a former "King James only" believer, I have learned after years of study that the NASB is probably the best English translation.
Therefore, all scripture verses used are direct quotes from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated. Also, all italics, (parentheses) and underlining is mine unless it is found in the actual Holy Scriptures.
Through the prophets of the Old Testament and with the very words of Jesus, Himself, the Jews were told not only that the Messiah would come, but there was also much information in the Bible that would give the Jews many signs to watch for.
Then, to make matters worse, they refused to believe Jesus, rejected His wondrous works and then they crucified Him. Again, God had every right to punish the Jews for their disobedience. Remember, they were punished for disobedience. Not, for ignorance. Those are two completely different things.
I would like to challenge the reader to show me; book, chapter and verse, where it is written that the Messiah will come AND He will bring us a substitute for Judaism called Christianity,...or anything else for that matter.
Or, show me where the Messiah did come AND He brought us this substitute for Judaism called Christianity. I truly would like to see these verses. I have thoroughly studied this and cannot find them myself.
Also, I would like for someone to show me; book, chapter and verse, where Jesus said the Torah does not apply to the New Testament Christian. This is something else I cannot find, despite months of looking for it. What I did find, however, was in Pauls letter to the Romans.
In Romans 3:31, the Holy Scripture says; "Do we then nullify the Law (Torah) through the faith (in Jesus Christ)? May it never be! On the contrary, we (believers in Jesus Christ) establish the Law."
This fully supports what Jesus said in John 14:15; "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (the Law/the Torah)." Jesus said we are to obey the Torah and Paul confirms His command to us in the New Testament.
As Christians, we are quick to point the accusatory finger of blame at the Orthodox Jews. But are we any better? I would say; Certainly not. The 21st century Christian is no different that the 1st century Orthodox Jew. We are convinced that we know exactly what is happening, and what is going to happen.
So much so, that we refuse to look at anything that may be contrary to what we already believe. And, it is because of this refusal to accept anything different that we will soon suffer for our disobedience, just as the Orthodox Jews have.
For most of my Christian life, I was taught that Jesus was coming back for us very soon. I was told that He could return at any moment. I remember more than one preacher saying; "He could return for us before the end of church today." And, I believed this.
Mainly because, the men teaching me were men whom I trusted and respected. I remember I would go to the window each day and wonder if this may be the day Jesus would return, and take us home.
This was until July 1996. I was discussing end time prophecy with my brothers. Two men whom I trust and respect a great deal. It was at this time one of them asked me one question. "Why do you believe that?"
I told him what I had been taught since I was a little boy. But, he was persistent. He asked if I could support my beliefs with Scripture. I was ashamed to say; I could not. I had never studied the subject to find out for myself.
But, I still believed that my beliefs were true. So, I set about my dutiful task of proving my brother wrong, and correcting the error of his way. However, the more I studied, the more questions I had. I studied hard for a long time in my attempt to answer my brother, and to answer the questions I now had for myself. This book is the result of nearly 8 years of prayer and study.
In this book, you will not find the words of Bible scholars, teachers or preachers. You will find only two things; what the Holy Scripture says, and my opinion. You will find why I believe the return of Jesus is not imminent, and that it is not pre-tribulation.
You will see why I chose to remove myself from the current doctrinal teachings of most churches today. Why I chose to stand ridiculed by the people in my church rather than simply go along with the crowd.
And, why, as a result, I have chosen to distance myself from the traditional evangelical church. You will find my answer to the question my brother asked almost 8 years ago;...Why do you believe that?
It is my hope and prayer that this will cause you to go deep into the scriptures and study this for yourself. Do not go to other books or popular movies of the day whether they be Christian, or secular for your only source of information on the subject. Go to God's Word and let the Holy Spirit lead you through the scripture.
Do not take the word of preachers, family, friends or other so-called Christian authorities as your only true source, either. Go to God and see what He has to say on the subject as I have done. God's Holy Word can, and does stand on its own.
It is my fondest hope and prayer this book will answer some of the questions you may have regarding the final seven years of history, as we know it.
Just for fun, I have included a "Pre-Trib Believers Test" at the end of the book. And now, on with my story.
The time of our visitation
The 24th chapter of Matthew is also known as the "Olivet Discourse". It was the time when Jesus and His disciples were talking about when the Messiah will return for His church and His people. Jesus told His disciples about many signs to watch for that would foretell His return and the rapture of the church. Signs that many so-called Bible scholars and preachers deny exist.
But, what I have discovered, and what so many others have failed to see in the 24th chapter of Matthew is this; Jesus is describing the Prophet Daniels 70th week of years as foretold in the 9th chapter of the book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible,...the end of time as we know it.
The Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 is divided into eight different parts;
1) verses 1 & 2; tells of the temple destroyed,
2) verses 3 & 4; the two questions asked by the disciples - "when" and "what",
3) verses 4 - 14; Daniel's 70th week of years - the end of time as we know it,
4) verses 15 - 20; speaks of the middle of Daniel's 70th week - the abomination of desolation,
5) verses 21 - 28; speaks of the latter half of Daniel's 70th week,
6) verses 29 - 31; speaks of King Jesus's return for His people after the "tribulation of those times", but before the wrath of God.
7) verses 32 - 35; speaks of the parable of the "fig tree", and
8) verses 36 - 51; tells us to be watchful and obedient to God's work and to His service until the end.
It is with parts 3 through 6 (Matthew 24: 4-31) that I will primarily concern myself with this study. I will try to show that the current teaching that Jesus will rapture the church before Daniels 70th week of years begins is not correct.
In this brief work, I will try to show why I believe the rapture of the church is not imminent. And, the "day of the Lord" (the rapture - II Thessalonians 2:2) will likely occur at, or near the end of Daniel's 70th week, just prior to the wrath of God, and not at its beginning as the current theology of most churches now hold.
For the record; The term "seven year tribulation" is not found anywhere in the Bible. We need to stop using unbiblical terms. This is where unbiblical teachings begin. Therefore, with the exception to make a point, the term "seven year tribulation" will not be used again in this study. Rather, the proper term, "Daniels 70th week of years" will be used.
But, first, a brief word about the "imminent return". We have been taught from the pulpit and in Sunday School that the return of Jesus is imminent,...could happen at any second. We are told that Jesus could return before the end of Sunday services. And, that His return has been imminent since He ascended into heaven almost 2000 years ago.
We are also told that nothing else must happen, prophetically speaking, before Jesus does return for the church. And, in many churches, we are told there are no signs at all and, therefore nothing to watch for. With that in mind, I would like to ask this.
If the return of Jesus is indeed imminent, why did the disciples ask Jesus in Matthew 24:3; "As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, WHEN will these things happen, and WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
And, why did Jesus answer the disciples with 48 verses of signs and warnings in the 24th chapter of Matthew alone, if those signs and warnings do not exist?
Additionally, if the return is indeed imminent, and if there are in fact no signs to watch for; why do most preachers say that Jesus could not return until the Jews were "in the land?" They teach that Jesus cannot return until the Jews are back in Israel, and occupy the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Which is a factual statement.
However, the Jews did not declare their independence until May 1948 and only held a small portion of Jerusalem. Prior to 1948, Israel had not existed since 70AD when the Romans destroyed the second temple. Between 70AD and 1948AD, Israel was called "Palestine."
That not withstanding, the Jews did not completely occupy Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, where the new temple will be built, until June 1967 following the "Six Day War." Wouldn't you call that "a sign?" I would. In fact, I would call it; "two signs."
If this is true, Jesus could not return until AFTER June 1967. With that in mind; No! The return of Jesus has been not imminent for 2000 years. People need to make up their minds. Not only with this issue, but with many other doctrinal issues which will be discussed at length in this study.
Here is something else I found to be rather interesting. Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36. Our Lord said; "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." I was taught all my life, that Jesus was referring to the rapture. How do we know that?
If you will look at Mark 13:32, the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36 are repeated here. But, look closely at the words of Jesus prior to this statement. This is where most people get into trouble. They do not read the entire statement. They remove only those words that will support their position,...whether it be right or wrong. Now, here is the point I am trying to make.
In both Matthew 24:36 and in Mark 13:32, the statement of Jesus saying "no one knows", is AFTER the part where Jesus speaks of His return at THE CLOSE of Daniels 70th week of years.
We must always, always, always remember that Jesus speaks both literally and chronologically. Jesus does not take fragments of scripture and rearrange it, like many people do. Jesus speaks in the order in which the events will unfold sometime in the future.
Therefore, it is my opinion, that Jesus was not speaking of the rapture. I believe Jesus was saying that no man knows the day and the hour of Gods wrath.
And, why do I believe that? Please refer to II Peter 3:10. We all know Peter as one of the twelve Apostles that walked, and talked with Jesus. Peter did not get his information second hand. He heard the words spoken directly from Jesus, Himself.
In II Peter 3:10, it says; "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."
To me, this does not describe the glorious event we call the rapture. Once again, if you read the entire text, you will see that Peter, like Jesus, was speaking of an event that comes at, or near the end of Daniels 70th week of years. Again, how do I know this?
There are two completely separate events that will occur at, or near the end of Daniels 70th week of years. One is the Day of the Lord (II Thessalonians 2:1&2), which IS THE RAPTURE.
The other is also known as the Day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5 and II Peter 3:10), which IS GODS WRATH.
"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (RAPTURE), that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come." II Thessalonians 2:1&2
"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD (WRATH)." Malachi 4:5
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up(WRATH)." II Peter 3:10
Just a cursory examination of the Holy Scripture will reveal these are speaking of two separate events occurring simultaneously, or very closely together; the rapture AND the wrath of God. But, enough of that for now. It is time to move on.
In order to believe in the pre-tribulation rapture theory, you must believe in at least two churches. Many doctrines believe in more than one church, and must do so in order to support a pre-tribulation position. This is evident when they teach that the church will be raptured at the beginning of Daniels 70th week of years.
These people ascribe to the theory that souls will be saved during this seven year period, but after the rapture. Therefore, in order to believe this, and support a pre-tribulation rapture theory, you must believe in more than one church.
For the record; I do not believe in "the church", as such. Before you throw my book out the window and label it blasphemy, please let me explain. As I mentioned earlier, I believe the entire Bible was originally written in Hebrew.
In the Hebrew language, the word "church" does not exist. The word "church" is a Greek word that was created and added to the 1530 William Tyndale translation (only appears twice), the 1611 King James Version (appears 114 times) and almost every subsequent translation since that time.
The word "assembly" was replaced by the word "church." If you have a Strongs Exhaustive Concordance, this is quickly confirmed. Therefore, the word "church" did not exist to the original writers of the Holy Scriptures.
As a point of interest; in the 1382 John Wycliffe translation, the first English translation (148 years before the William Tyndale translation), the word "church" does not appear once.
Bear in mind, the majority of Bible scholars of all faiths will agree the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. However, they disagree on the whether or not the New Testament was written in Hebrew, Aramaic (which is a dialect of Hebrew), Latin or Greek.
The truth is; the 4th century translations, and most all subsequent translations of the New Testament were translated into English from corrupted Greek manuscripts that post-date the Apostles by hundreds of years. This should be a warning about the translation teams knowledge of the Hebrew,..or the lack thereof.
However, to answer the question people have regarding "the church", I will continue to use the word "church" only to emphasize a point.
Now, I too believe that souls will be saved during Daniels 70th week of years. This is supported in the Revelation 7:4 when it speaks of the 144,000 Orthodox Jews which are sealed (saved).
Yet, most doctrines today teach that there are two separate groups of believers, or saints. The pre-trib saints, and the tribulation period saints. To which, I do not believe myself, and nor can I find anything in Scripture to support such a position. In an attempt to prove my point, let us look at how the Scriptures responds to this issue.
In Romans 12:4, Paul writes; "For just as we have many members in one body..."
And continues in verse 5; "...so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,..."
Paul also said in I Corinthians 12:12&13; "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
He continues in verse 20; "But now there are many members, but one body."
You can also find similar passages in Matt 16:18, Matt 18:17, Acts 2:47, Acts 5:11, I Cor 1:2, II Cor 1:1, Gal 1:13, Eph 5:23 and many, many others that speak of "the church". All of these verses speak of "the church" in the singular and not in the plural.
In the Holy scriptures you will find one God, one creation, one Savior, one Christ child, one sacrifice for all sin for all time, one resurrection and one day of Pentecost where "the church" was ordained by Jesus (according to the evangelical church).
If this is the case, where does one find this alleged second church? I cannot find it myself. What I find is; the assembly, or congregation of believers in ONE Messiah, Jesus Christ.
And, if there is only one church and Jesus removes the church at the beginning of Daniels 70th week of years, how are these tribulation period saints saved? What happened to John 14:6? "Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
No one can be saved except by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord, and Savior. And, it was Jesus who instituted the church. So, when Jesus removes the church at the rapture, which is the body of Christ, how can man come unto Him? They can't.
Again, what is the church? It is the physical body of a born again believer. It is not a building, or a place where one goes to worship. The church is the body of a believer within whom the Holy Spirit dwells.
So, how are these many, many souls going to be able to come to Jesus during Daniels 70th week of years? Simple. The church, the body of Christ, is still here. Same with "the assembly."
What happens when the church is raptured, and the Holy Spirit is removed? In Matthew 25:10, Jesus says; "And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut."
After the rapture, the bride (the bride of Jesus, which is the church/assembly) will enter in (be taken to heaven) with the bridegroom (Jesus Christ) and the door will be shut. No one may enter in once the door is shut. Just like it was with Noahs ark. Once God closed the door, no one else was allowed to enter in.
And, what happens when the door is shut forever? In Luke 13:25, Jesus continued by saying; "Once the head of the house (the Lord) gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, Lord, open up to us!' then He will answer and say to you, I do not know where you are from."
It is apparent to me that once the rapture occurs, and the church is removed; God closes the door to heaven and no one else may enter in. It even go so far as to say that those who come in repentance after the door is closed will be turned away and cast out.
See Hebrews 12:17; "For you know that even afterwards (after the rapture), when he desired (past tense) to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears (sincerely)."
An example of that may be the apostle who betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot. He sought repentance with tears just before committing suicide.
People who suddenly come to the realization that their Christian friends were right will try to seek salvation after the rapture. But, it is too late. The door is closed to them forever. They will knock at the door, but it will not be opened unto them. They will be sincere in their efforts, but they will be rejected. It is too late. The lessons taught to us by Noah and Lot should be enough evidence of that.
People have said to me; This will not happen. They said that if God loves us so much, he will make allowances. It is true, God does love us. In fact, it says in the Holy Scriptures; "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."; John 3:16&17.
Yes, God loves you. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to be brutalized and crucified at our hands for our sins. But, God is also Holy and He is Just. And, God is Truth. If God does not do exactly what He says He will do, then He is no longer a righteous God. God will do what He says because, He is God. And, one of those things He will do is to permit you to live by your decisions. Or, perish by them.
However, there will come a time when it is too late. Such as, when you die. Or, Jesus returns and takes the church (His bride) to be with Him in His kingdom at the rapture. It will be at one of those times that God will close the door to you forever. So, you better make right decisions before He closes the door forever.
And, speaking of Gods love, permit me to say this and then I will move on. I have been taught all of my Christian life that Jesus will rapture the church at the beginning of this so-called 7 year tribulation period.
I have been taught the church (the bride of Jesus) will be taken to heaven (the wedding chamber) with Jesus Christ (the bridegroom). I was then taught that during this 7 year period we will be celebrating the wedding feast of the lamb. Party time! Right?
How dare our arrogance!!! Read your Bible!!!
The Bible clearly says, and most doctrines agree, there will be people on earth who will be "afflicted", "hated" and "killed" of all nations for their faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ during Daniels 70th week of years.
People will be imprisoned, persecuted and murdered during this time for one reason, and one reason only. They are followers of Messiah! Members of the body of Messiah! Part of the bride of Messiah!
Do you really believe that the Lord, Jesus will take only a portion of His bride to heaven, and celebrate the wedding feast of the lamb while the remaining portion of His bride is persecuted and slaughtered for His name sake back on earth?
May God forgive us of our arrogance if this is something we truly believe. I dont know about your savior, but my Savior; the Lord, Jesus Christ would never do that do His people.
In Matthew 24:1&2, Jesus tells the disciples how the temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed. And, how He leaves the temple and abandons it to be judged. Please note, however, that Jesus does not abandon the individual for whom He still has mercy and grace. He abandons and judges the hypocrisy of mans false religions.
Don't forget, Jesus only went after one establishment of the day. Was it Caesar, or Herod, or the system of taxation? No! Jesus went after the hypocrisy of mans false religion. Remember, it was not Herod, or Pilate that Jesus was giving heart burn. They didnt care that Jesus proclaimed Himself to be God. There was always room for one more god along the Apian Way in Rome. So, they didnt care. It was the Jewish religious leaders and their perversion of Judaism that Jesus came to deal with as well as offer Himself as the sacrificial Passover Lamb for our sins. And, He will come back to deal with our own religious hypocrisy one day soon, too.
Matthew 24:3&4, The disciples asked two questions of Jesus. "When" shall Jesus return, and "What" shall be "the sign" of His return?
The disciples knew that the Old Testament prophets gave many signs and prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah and they wanted to know if there would be any signs pointing to His return. What we will discuss from this point forward are the signs pointing to the return of Messiah Jesus. Signs that many,...in fact, most modern day preacher's deny exist.
In I Thessalonians 5:2&3, the Lord, God says; "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, Peace and safety! then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape."
Please note that Jesus did, in fact, answer the questions of the disciples. So did Peter and Paul, later in their writings.
To save time, I will show scripture from the Olivet Discourse, and the corresponding scripture from the Revelation. I ask that you please research these for yourself and not rely upon my word for your decision. And, also to save time, unless specifically noted otherwise, all scripture verses are taken from the 24th chapter of Matthew, NASB.
Verses 4-14: Tells of the first half (3 ½ years or 42 months) of Daniel's 70th week of years.
1) Verses 4 & 5: Speaks of false religions, false prophets and false Christ's.
*Revelation 6:1&2; The first seal.
2) Verses 6 & 7: Wars and rumors of wars. And, famine
*Revelation 6:4-6; The second and third seal.
3) Verse 8: The beginning of sorrows.
*Revelation 6:7&8; The fourth seal.
4) Verses 9 & 10: Martyrs.
*Revelation 6:9&10; The fifth seal.
5) Verses 11-13: Anarchy.
*Revelation 6:12-17; The sixth seal.
Please compare Matthew 24:29 to Revelation 6:12. The sixth seal is not opened until after the first half of Daniel's 70th week. Not until after the "abomination of desolation" and the anti-Christ proclaims himself to be God and world ruler.
What is the abomination of desolation? There will be a seven year covenant made by the son of destruction (son of perdition, or the anti-Christ) with Israel at the beginning of Daniel's 70th week of years. This covenant is what actually starts the seven year prophetical clock ticking, counting down the last seven years of recorded history.
Then 3 ½ years into Daniel's 70th week, the son of destruction will cause a forcible end of the Jewish ritual of worship (animal sacrifice and meal offering). The son of destruction will desecrate the Holy of Holies in the new temple in Jerusalem. This happens when the son of perdition enters the Holy of Holies, proclaims himself to be God and demands that the whole world fall down and worship him.
Lets take a look at chapter 7 of Revelation? This is where I begin to truly disagree with the theology that the rapture is "pre-tribulation". Many Bible scholars believe that after the rapture there will be no more souls saved. After all, the Holy Spirit has been removed when the church was raptured. The Holy Spirit, that what stirs the soul to come to Jesus, was removed when the church was raptured out. And, to that one point, I agree with them.
However, there are those who are so uncertain of whatever it is they believe that they will ascribe to the theory that there will be no more souls saved. Except,... there will be souls saved if they heard the gospel prior to the rapture. Please, let us make our minds. And, they say this in complete contradiction to what God says in the Holy Scriptures. This is just another excuse for not wanting to accept something contrary to what you already dogmatically believe and refuse to let go of,...even if it is wrong.
Now, let us look to the Holy Word of God in Revelation 7 and see what the author of the Bible has to say on the subject.
1) "And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:..." Revelation 7:4.
A) 144,000 Orthodox Jews (not Jehovah Witnesses) will be converted. They will confess Messiah Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. And, they will be what? They will be saved! What!? Saved after the rapture? No, before the rapture, but after the abomination of desolation, and before the wrath of God falls.
B) Need more proof? "...and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." Romans 11:26.
C) Still more proof? "A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, declares the LORD." Isaiah 59:20.
2) "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;..." Revelation 7:9.
There are those who will argue that Revelation 7:9 is referring to the same 144,000 Orthodox Jews who are saved during Daniels 70 week of years in verse 4. To those people, I would like to make two quick points;
1) I thought they said no one would be saved during the tribulation period?
2) Revelation 7:9 clearly says; "...which no one was able to count..."
Now, I can count to 144,000 and I am sure you can, too. Therefore, unless God is confused about this issue, and He is not, then Revelation 7 is talking about two clearly separate groups of people. There will be many thousands of souls saved during Daniel's 70th week of years. You can either believe your favorite televangelist, or the Living God. You decide.
Also, in Revelation 7:13&14, God says; "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from? I said to him, My lord, you know. And he said to me, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation (Matthew 24), and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ)."
If you still need more proof of souls being saved during Daniels 70th week of years, read the 14th chapter of Zechariah where the prophet says that the entire nation of Israel will be saved in just one day.
And what day will that be? Zechariah 14:1 says; "Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you."
And, in verse 9, the prophet continues; "And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.."
In one day the entire nation of Israel will be saved, and the Orthodox Jews will proclaim Messiah Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And, they will be saved after the abomination of desolation...during Daniel's 70th week of years. It is clear to me that the church has not yet been raptured away.
So, how can souls be saved during Daniels 70th week of years? Simple, the rapture has not yet occurred and the church is still here on earth at that time.
And, since the 7th chapter of Revelation is between the sixth and the seventh seals, it is clear to me that the church will be spared the "wrath" of God, but not the "tribulation" of the anti-Christ. There are those who would disagree on this point because of what it says in Genesis about Noah. They said that Noah was spared. Yes, he was. Noah was spared God's wrath, but not tribulation.
Just look at Genesis 7:11-13; "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark,..."
Here is an interesting point. The Holy Scripture even gives the exact date it began to rain. "...in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month,..." In the Jewish civil calender, the second month is "Bul" (Chesvan, or Heshvan), our October & November. In English, Bul means "Rain." Was this an accident, or coincidental? Not with God. This was, and still is, part of His Divine plan.
Please remember when researching this for yourself; God changed the Hebrew calender in Exodus. In Exodus 12:2, the first month of the year was changed to Abib (Aviv, or Nisan). And, Bul was moved to the 8th month.
The Jews have two calenders. The civil calender with Tishri (Ethanim) as the first month. And, a religious calender with Abib as the first month. This is important to know to avoid confusion when doing your research. Enough of that for now. Its time to move on.
Did Noah suffer God's wrath? No! Did Noah suffer tribulation? Yes! He suffered 120 years worth of tribulation and persecution from those worldly people around him, who mocked him, while he built the ark for God. And, notice it says that Noah and his family did not enter into the ark until immediately before God's wrath fell upon the earth (On the very same day).
It was raining when Noah entered into the ark, and God was closing the door to the ark. And, Noah did not sit closed up inside the ark for seven years while he waited for God to judge the wicked. God's wrath came immediately after Noah and his family were safe.
The same was with Lot and his family. They suffered tribulation and persecution until immediately after God removed him and his family from Sodom. And then, God's wrath fell. Lot and his family were barely out of town before God destroyed the city.
And, if you don't like the words of God in Genesis, let's take a look at the words of Jesus in the 17th chapter of Luke. In Luke 17:27, Jesus Himself said; "...they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all."
In Luke 17:29, Jesus continued by saying; "...but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all."
Look at what the verses say. Look at what the author of the Bible itself has to say. Look at what God Himself says about this. The judgement, the wrath of God fell immediately after God's people were safe. There was no delay, no seven year waiting period. God removed His people, and then His wrath came immediately afterwards.
Jesus said in Luke 17:30 that it will be the same with the generation who remains to see the sign of the return of the Messiah. "It will be just the same on THE DAY (singular) that the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) is revealed."
Mark 13:20 says; "Unless the Lord had shortened those days (great tribulation and persecution), no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect (Believers), whom He chose, He shortened the days."
Just like it was in the days of Noah before the flood came. Just like it was in the days of Lot before the fire and brimstone came. Just like it will be for the generation who remains to see the return of Messiah Jesus.
Here is another point regarding this myth of the church being gone in the latter parts of the Revelation. I would like to direct your attention to the book of I Corinthians 15:51&52.
God says; "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (Perhaps this is the "Shofar" announcing the coming of Rosh Hashanah? This will be explained in detail later in the book); for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
God goes on to say in I Thessalonians 4:16; "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
Most doctrines say, and I agree, these two passages are speaking of the rapture AND of the resurrection of those Christians who died prior to the rapture. And, I agree. Now, lets go back to the Revelation and see what happens there.
In Revelation 7:13&14, God clearly says; "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from? I said to him, My lord, you know. And he said to me, These are the ones who COME OUT of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ)."
Most doctrines teach, and once again, I agree; this is referring to those people saved during this so-called seven year tribulation period. In most churches, they are erroneously known as "the tribulation saints." "Tribulation saints" is another term that cannot be found in the Bible. Why? Because, its not there. You cannot find what does not exist.
Now lets take a look at Revelation 20:4-6, where God says; "Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus (great tribulation - Matthew 24) and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead (lost souls) did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years."
Time out! Just a minute here! These passages in Revelation speak of "...the first resurrection..." So, what was that in I Corinthians and in I Thessalonians? Was Paul referring to the first-first resurrection, and John referring to the second-first resurrection? Or were both men speaking of the same event? An event that occurs at the end, or near the end of Daniels 70th week of years? That is what I believe.
If you attend one of the main stream churches, or have graduated from one of the "new and improved" seminaries; Lord knows what you may believe. Ask yourself just exactly what it is you do believe. Then see if it stacks up against the Word of God. If they are different, trust me when I say; YOU are wrong and God is right!!
Some will say that the signs, and warnings are directed to the Orthodox Jews and not the Christian church. I say this is not possible because, the Orthodox Jews do not read the New Testament where these signs are found. Nor do the Orthodox Jews believe that Jesus is the Messiah. As a matter of fact, there are Christian missionaries in Israel being persecuted by the Orthodox Jews even as I write this study. The missionaries, while being ridiculed, are witnessing to the Orthodox Jews in Israel and giving them New Testaments. The Orthodox Jews will promptly burn, or otherwise destroy the teachings of Jesus calling it blasphemy. While the Orthodox Jew is waiting for the first coming of Messiah, we are awaiting His triumphant return for His people,...Jew and Gentile.
If you will remember; one of the reasons Jesus was crucified was because, the Jewish high priest accused Jesus of blasphemy. Matthew 26:65 says; "Then the high priest tore his robes and said, He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;..."
And, the modern day Orthodox Jew is carrying on where the people who crucified Jesus left off 2000 years ago. Therefore, if the Orthodox Jews are not reading the words of Jesus, and the Christian church is; then who is it that Jesus is directing to watch for the sign of the return of Jesus? The answer is; the Christian church.
Additionally, we have been taught all our lives from the pulpit of our local churches that the New Testament is "God's love letters" to His people,...the church. God's love letters to saved people. Not to the Orthodox Jews who openly reject Jesus and His teachings.
God said that the scriptures and prophecies will make no sense to the unsaved reader without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to discern its meaning to the reader.
In fact, the unsaved will laugh at you, and call you a fool. Has anyone ever ask you; "You dont really believe that stuff, do you?"
They ask you those types of questions because, they dont understand. The scriptures are so much nonsense to someone without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to cause them to understand.
The 2nd chapter of I Corinthians is quite clear when it says;
verse 9, "...but just as it is written,..." Written by whom? Written by God, of course.
Verse 10; "For to us God revealed them through the Spirit;..."
Verse 12; "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,..."
Verse 14; "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they (Christians) are spiritually appraised."
And, verse 16; "But we have the mind of Christ."
The Orthodox Jews and other unsaved people do not have the mind of Messiah and, therefore, cannot discern the meaning of the sign of Jesus' return. Therefore, the warnings and the signs of the return of Jesus is for the New Testament Christian church and no one else.
God warns us (the church) to watch for this sign spoken of in Matthew 24. Why? If God is not preparing us to be here during Daniels 70th week of years, why does He specifically tell the Christian to be prepared and watch for the sign of the return of Jesus? And, if the rapture has already happened at the beginning of this 7 year period as so many believe, and therefore, no more souls to be saved, then why does God send Elijah to witness to those left behind?
"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD" Malachi 4: 5.
Now, where does the seventh seal appear in Matthew 24? Just briefly, the sixth seal was opened in verses 11 - 13. But, the seventh seal was not opened until verses 29 - 31,...AFTER the abomination of desolation.
"But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign (another "sign" of the coming of Jesus) of the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory."
Which in my opinion, describes three things;
1) the opening of the seventh seal,
2) the rapture and
3) the wrath of God.
All of which, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, occur very closely together,...if not simultaneously.
Midway through Daniel's 70th week of years (3 ½ years or 42 months), the son of destruction (anti-Christ, son of perdition) must reveal himself.
II Thessalonians 2:3 says; "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,..."
Just a brief note on this passage. In the 1611 King James Bible, a favorite version of many of my friends and family members, "the apostasy" is translated as "the falling away." I personally like the way the NASB translates it. But, that is not the point.
The point is; I have personally spoken with those who teach that the "falling away" describes that rapture. They must in order to support a pre-tribulation rapture theory. It does not work any other way. Regardless, I say; such nonsense is absolutely absurd.
In the original Greek, you will find the word "apostasia", or "apostasy" in English. This is why the NSAB used the word "apostasy." The words "falling away" replaced the word "apostasia". Which means a deliberate rejection of a revealed truth, a defection from the truth, or to forsake, or to fall away.
In this case, the apostate church (not the secular world) has "fallen away", and is rejecting God's Holy Word and His teachings. Refer to God's letter to the church at Laodicea in the Revelation 3:14-19 for what is meant by "falling away" or "apostasy" and the cost of doing so. Remember, this warning is again directed to the Christian church and not to the unbeliever. How can the unbeliever fall from a place he has never stood?
I have also spoken to, and have been taught by those who believe the anti-Christ is revealed when he signs a seven year peace accord with Israel.
Daniel 9:27 says; "And he (anti-Christ) will make a firm covenant with the many (the Israelis/Jews) for one week,..."
One week refers to the prophets Daniel's 70th week of years. And, one week is seven years.
With this in mind, please permit me to ask a few questions about that.
1) To whom is the anti-Christ revealing himself? Man? There have been so many treaties signed over the past 50 years with Israel that no one pays any attention to them any more. So, it is doubtful to me that he will reveal himself to such an apathetic world by merely signing another peace accord between Israel and her enemies.
2) Does the simple act of signing a peace accord with Israel, even though it is for seven years, automatically make this person the anti-Christ? No! We must first wait and see if he fulfills the prophecy by defiling the Holy of Holies in the new temple in Jerusalem. We must wait to see if he actually does reveal himself as the anti-Christ. This fact is clearly stated in God's Holy words.
A) II Thessalonians 2:3; "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,..."
B) The passage says; "Let no one in any way deceive you..." That includes preachers and Sunday school teachers.
3) Then, if not to man, to whom will he reveal himself? I have spoken to those who say he will reveal himself to God. Again, I say this is completely absurd. Trust me, the son of destruction was revealed to God long before God created the heavens and the earth. There are no secrets or surprises to God. God already knows who the anti-Christ is, and exactly what he is doing, and exactly what he is going to do. The son of destruction was revealed to God when God created him.
4) So, when will the son of destruction reveal himself to those who are waiting and watching for the sign of the return of Jesus, i.e.; to the church? When the son of destruction desecrates the Holy of Holies in the new temple in Jerusalem and proclaims himself to be God,...prior to God's wrath and before the rapture. Probably by 42 months. See Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14
A) Daniel 9:27; "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
B) Matt. 24:15; "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),..."
C) Mark 13:14; "But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains."
And, once again, this is directed to the Christian church and not to the Orthodox Jews as so many believe. This can be proven, again, by the fact the Orthodox Jews do not read the New Testament, nor do they believe that Jesus is the Messiah. This can also be proven by the fact that the 144,000 Orthodox Jews are not "sealed" until AFTER the abomination of desolation. Matt 24:15 and Rev 7: 4
Not until after that event in history and the Orthodox Jews come to believe in Messiah Jesus as their Lord and Savior, do the Orthodox Jews pay any attention to the New Testament and its teachings. Therefore, this warning is to the Christian church and not to the Orthodox Jews.
Luke 17: 26; "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man."
Very briefly, I want to touch on one other point the pre-trib crowd likes to make. And that is the one where they claim in I Thessalonians 4, there is proof of the imminence of the rapture. The following scripture is where they draw this conclusion. A conclusion based on nothing but conjecture and speculation.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 says; "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
In this passage, Paul is writing to the people telling them that they had not missed the rapture. They were afraid they had because, just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus told the people he would return for them. The elderly were beginning to die and Jesus had not yet returned. They were beginning to believe they may have somehow missed the rapture.
Paul tells the people; "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,..." This passage has nothing to do with the imminence of the rapture. It has to do with people who simply did not understand what the scripture was saying, and Paul explained it to the people in his letter to them. Remember, these people did not have Bibles. They could not study for themselves. The New Testament would not come into existence for another 300 years. They needed men like Paul to tell them.
Paul goes on to explain to the people just what to expect when the rapture does occur, should it happen during their lifetime,...which it obviously did not. Paul went on to comfort the people ("with these words", verse 18) that those who have died, ("those who are asleep", verse 14), are with God and shall return with Him at the rapture. He tells them not be sorrowful as those who have no hope. Their dead are with Jesus and not lost like those who died without the salvation of Messiah Jesus.
Paul continues to explain to the people that when the rapture does occur, they shall be caught up together with Jesus AND their loved ones who have died prior to the rapture in the air. Then they will all be taken to heaven to live with Jesus forever. Paul concludes by telling the people to "comfort" one another with the words and the promises of God, and not to worry.
Paul knew that certain prophecies (signs & warnings) must be fulfilled before Jesus returns. In II Thessalonians 2:1-3, he tells the people what must happen before the rapture can occur. I will not go back into that as it was discussed at length previously. My point is, however, if Paul knew of the signs pointing to the return of Jesus, why dont we? Simple. We dont read the Bible. We just blindly take the word of others and assume it to be the truth.
However, the teachings of the Bible are quite clear. It is the teachings of the apostate church which has become convoluted. In I Thessalonians, Paul says, be not uninformed. In II Thessalonians, Paul gives us signs and warning which must proceed the rapture, and not to be deceived as that day will not come until the signs appear and the prophecies be fulfilled.
Yet, as I study, I do not find one word in either of Pauls letters to the Thessalonians that discusses the immanency of the rapture. In fact, no where in theses passages does Paul even hint to such an unbiblical conclusion. Paul simply told the people not to be concerned about their loved ones who "are asleep" in Jesus, and what the rapture will be like when it does occur.
Paul also gives some signs pointing to the "season" of the rapture (Matthew 24:32). He concludes by telling the people not be deceived and to comfort one another with the Holy Words of the living God.
But, I defy anyone to show me where Paul tells the people in either of his letters to the Thessalonians, or anywhere else in the Bible where it speaks of an imminent return of Messiah Jesus. I dont think you can because, it is not there.
Further evidence against the imminency of Messiahs return can be found in II Peter 3: 3&4. The Apostle Peter says; "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."
Peter walked with Jesus, and recorded what our Lord had told him. Peter knew that Jesus would not return until the "last days." Peter knew there would be those who would question the promise of Jesus, and begin to deny Him. He also knew that many generations must pass before the return of Messiah when he said; "since the fathers fell asleep (died)." Again, this is not evidence of an imminent return of Jesus.
Matthew 24 goes on to warn us (the church) to flee from the man of sin. Jesus warns us not to return home for our belongings and clothes. Heed the lesson of Lot's wife in Genesis 19:26; "But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."
He is also very concerned for pregnant women, and those nursing new born children because, the times will be so difficult and perilous.
Matthew 24:16-24 gives further evidence that the church is still on earth after the abomination of desolation which occurs 3 ½ years, or "in the middle" of Daniel's 70th week of years. And, here are just a couple of points I believe prove my evidence.
1) Who is Jesus warning to flee after the abomination of desolation and the son of destruction takes over? The secular world? No! Why not? Because they have sided with this so-called great leader. The secular world helped put him in power by supporting his agenda. The like him. So, why should they run? Furthermore, you will see some of the more main stream, evangelical churches help put the son of destruction in power as well. There will be many so-called "Christians" that will support the agenda of the son of destruction. Look how some so-called "Christians" supported some of our more recently elected political officials.
2) Then who is Jesus warning to flee after the abomination of desolation and the son of destruction takes over? The Christians who are "living who are left over",...thats who. Why? Because we will refuse to worship the beast. We know who he is and we will not bow down to him, nor will we worship him. Therefore, we must flee the wrath of the anti-Christ, but not the wrath of God. Because if we are caught by the anti-Christ and we do not do as he says, we will be imprisoned, or killed by him. Refer to Revelation 6:9-11,...the fifth seal.
Technology is now being developed that could fulfill the prophecy found in Revelation 13:16; "And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,..."
In an attempt to establish a one world monetary system, a system is being developed to place a small micro-chip, slightly larger than a grain of sand in the palm of your hand. This micro-chip can be scanned at the store and a computer will automatically debit your bank account.
And, if you are allergic to the micro-chip, they will be able to tattoo an invisible, infra-red bar code on your forehead. No more cash or credit cards. And, the best part is; the government will be able to track each and every one of your purchases.
The government can also use this technology to track your personal movements by satellite if they implement a system called the "Global Positioning System" (G.P.S.). This system is already widely used in sips, airplanes and very expensive automobiles as a navigation system. It can pin-point a spot anywhere on the face of the earth within 6 square meters.
This is not fantasy, my friends. This technology is being developed for wide spread use as I write this study. You already have your number. It is called a Social Security Number. You are now required to have one at birth. Try getting a job, or even welfare without a Social Security Number. The government tracks your every movement with this number.
Trust me, big brother is watching, and watching very closely. You need to read magazines like Time, Newsweek, U.S. News, etc. They dont even try to hide it any longer. They know there is nothing you can do about it regardless.
...and that no one should be able to buy or sell except he that has the mark of the I.R.S., or the name of the federal government, or the social security number of his name. (Revelation 13:17 - author speculative)
But the most compelling piece of evident for me that the church will still be here during Daniels 70th week of years is found in the first two lines of Matthew 24:15; "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION..."
"...when you see..." Jesus is warning us (the church) that when YOU see this (the abomination of desolation), it is now time to flee. Who else could Jesus be talking to? This warning is for those who are watching and waiting for these prophecies to come to pass,...watching for the sign of the return of Jesus. That could only be the Christian church. Not the Orthodox Jews who ignore the teachings of Jesus. And, certainly not to the secular world who is ignoring all of the teachings of God. So, who else could Jesus be talking to?
Now, let's move on to the latter half of Daniel's 70th week of years. In Matthew 24:21-26, there is, again, much evidence to indicate that the church has not been raptured at the beginning of Daniel's 70th week. To save time, I will just highlight some of the points in these six verses to show what I am talking about. I ask that you go back and read these passages for yourself to get the full details.
1) Verse 22; "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."
What does "elect" mean in this context? In both the Hebrew and the Greek, the word means; elect, election or to choose. In all cases, it simply means; one who has been chosen.
"elect" is, therefore, the sovereign act of God on grace whereby certain persons are chosen among mankind for Himself.
So, again, what does "elect" mean in the context of this verse? It means; God's people. His chosen ones,...Jew & Gentile.
2) Verse 24; "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show GREAT SIGNS and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect."
Signs!? What signs!? I thought there were no signs!?
To save time here, refer to my explanation of verse 22.
3) Warning the "chosen" to watch for those performing and showing "great signs", and not to be fooled by these false prophets and false messiah's. Refer to Matthew 24:11 and Revelation 6:1&2,...the first seal.
4) Verse 25; "Behold, I have told you in advance." Another warning ahead of time to the "elect" and not to the unsaved world.
5) Warning the "elect" not to go looking for Jesus. Jesus assured us that He will, not maybe, but that He will come for us. Refer to Matthew 24:11 and Revelation 6:1&2,...the first seal.
If the rapture occurred at the beginning, or just prior to the beginning of Daniel's 70th week of years, then why is God giving such warnings to His people about the events following the abomination of desolation? Which, by the way, occurs 3 ½ years into this seven year period.
Daniel 9:27 says; "And he (the anti-Christ) will make a firm covenant with the many (the Israeli Jews) for one week (seven years), but in the middle of the week (42 months / 3 ½ years) he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
Matthew 24:29-31 speaks of the close of this period of great tribulation and of the rapture. Read these verses very carefully for yourself.
"But IMMEDIATELY AFTER the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. AND THEN the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, AND THEN all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and THEY WILL SEE the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
In verse 29, note the words used very carefully. THERE IS A CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER IN THESE VERSES. Do not read into this verse, or try to make something out of it that is not there. Just read the words of God and accept them.
In verse 29, God's Holy word clearly says; immediately after the tribulation of those days. Not before, and not during. It says; AFTER. After the tribulation of these days we shall see cosmic disturbances which will cause mens hearts to fail them. They will try to hide themselves in the mountains (another sign of the return of Jesus).
Remember that the tribulation of the day (verse 29) begins after the abomination of desolation spoken of in verse 15. Which occurs 3 ½ years after the covenant is signed between Israel and the anti-Christ.
And, now, look closely at what Matthew 24:30&31 says. Furthermore, note that verses 30&31 come after verse 15. This is an important distinction that I don't want you to miss. Because, it is in verse 15 where we find the abomination of desolation and the revealing of the son of destruction,...the anti-Christ. And, it is in verses 30&31 where we find the rapture. Be very careful note that Jesus speaks chronologically here.
See for yourself. Verses 30&31; "AND THEN the sign of the Son of Man (the return of Messiah Jesus) will appear in the sky, AND THEN all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and (Jesus is now talking about the unsaved) they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And (after verse 30 is fulfilled) He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
And, they shall mourn greatly because they know it is too late, and the door has been shut on them forever. And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet (Messiah is talking about that trumpet again), and they shall gather together His chosen (there is that word "chosen", again) from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other."
And, what is this sound of a trumpet? Rapture!!!
I Corinthians 15: 52 says; "...in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
I cannot find a single thing in the Bible that will support any other conclusion. At least not without taking a lot of scripture out of context and writing your own Bible. Like they did with the new age versions choking the shelves of almost every so-called Christian book store today.
Also, God mentions the "trumpet" twice in the passage. We have seen it many times already. I wonder if He is trying to tell us something? I will try to answer that later.
The remainder of Matthew 24 is a call to be ready. Jesus commands us to watch and to be prepared. The parable of the fig tree symbolizes what we can discern if we study, prepare ourselves and watch for the sign of the return of Jesus.
The parable of the fig tree is not a sign of the rapture. Nor is it a sign of the rebirth of the nation of Israel. It is only symbolic of knowing the changing seasons. Jesus told us in that no one, but God Himself knows the day or the hour. And, we are told not to try to figure out when that hour will be. That is not for us to know. Otherwise, God would have told us.
But, we are told the parable of the fig tree in verse 32 so we can know the season of Jesus' return. Jesus said; "Now LEARN the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you KNOW that summer is near;..."
What two important words did Jesus use in verse 32? They are "learn" and "know". Why did Jesus tell us to "learn" if He did not want us to "know"?
Another example of the parable of the fig tree could be expressed this way. I have lived on the front range of the Rocky Mountain's in Colorado all of my life. In the month of September, as we get closer to October, the seasons begin to change. The leaves on the trees turn gold, and red, and yellow. It looks like the mountain's are on fire. Soon the leaves begin to fall from their branches and blow down the street. The night air begins to get colder. The air is crisp and fresh, and the frost is on the ground in the mornings. Seeing all of the this, I know that winter is near. I know that it will snow soon. I know this by learning the seasons.
But, when will it snow? On what day, and at what hour will the first snow storm come to my home? I have no idea. Only God knows the day and the hour. But, I do know that it is near because, I have watched the signs of the changing season. And, I have prepared for the coming snow storm by buying warmer clothing and insulating my house. I am ready for the snow regardless of what day of the week, or what hour of the day or night it may come.
And, the parable of the fig tree is the same. It is telling us to watch, and be prepared. Because, that day and hour of Jesus' return is coming. And, who is Jesus telling to learn and know? It is the Christian church. Why do I think this? Because, no one but the church is reading the New Testament. The unsaved does not read it, and the Orthodox Jews don't believe it. And they would not understand it if the did read it because, they do not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to cause them to understand. Jesus is telling the Christians who are about to enter into Daniels 70th week of years to "learn" and "know".
Therefore, it is my personal opinion, based on my personal study of God's Holy Word, that signs pointing to the return of Messiah Jesus do, in fact. exist contrary to the teachings of so many. And, that they are directed to the followers of Messiah. Follower's who are obeying God by watching and being ready for the trials and tribulations to come during Daniel's 70th week of years.
Then there are those that claim that the following verse proves the rapture is pre-tribulation. I Thessalonians 5:9 says; "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,..."
This says that we will be spared God's wrath. But, it DOES NOT say we will be spared tribulation. In fact, Jesus told the believer that there would be much tribulation. That is the price for following Jesus. Otherwise, why did Messiah tell us that we had to pick up our cross and follow Him? He was preparing us for the tribulation to come AND how to avoid the coming wrath of God.
I have been told by some that to discuss the difference between whether Jesus will come pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib is not important. Which, by the way, I do not support any one of those positions. I believe that God will rapture the church on a day and hour that no man knows before His wrath falls upon the earth.
I personally believe it will be sometime near the end of Daniel's 70th week of week of years. I do not know, nor do I pretend to know when. As mentioned before, only God knows the day and hour. I do not. However, I believe we can know the season because, Jesus gave us the signs to watch for.
Also, if the church is raptured when the anti-Christ enters into the seven year covenant with Israel, then why did Jesus tell us to watch for the sign of His return? Matthew 24:4 clearly says; "And Jesus answered and said to them, SEE TO IT that no one misleads you..."
Jesus verbally responded to the questions of the disciples. He answered their question by telling them to watch for the signs. If we are to be raptured before all of this happens, why did Jesus give 48 verses of signs and warning in Matthew 24 when the disciples asked what would be the sign of His return?
Why didn't Jesus simply tell the disciples that there would be no warnings, no signs and to be ready for an imminent return and rapture? Why did Jesus tell us to watch for the sign of His return if we are gone? And, why should we even take the time and trouble to watch for these signs if we are gone while these events are taking place?
Look what Jesus did with the Scribes and Phararisees. Then they sought to trick Jesus into giving them a sign. Refer to Matthew 12:38. Did Jesus give them a sign? No! He called them wicked and adulterous. And then, in Matthew 12:39; Jesus told them to read the Holy scriptures where the signs are found.
Jesus is not going to cater to the wicked. He instead sent them to the Holy Word of God in hopes they would learn something and know for themselves. However, with His own people, those who seek with sincerity; Jesus gave them the answer to their questions.
Look at another promise of God found in James 1:5; "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
Why are we to watch and know the signs? Because, the church has not been raptured and the church is still here on earth during this period of "great tribulation" during the latter half of Daniels 70th week of years..
All that not withstanding, I believe it is critically important to know and watch for the sign of the coming of the Son of Man. Mainly because, I believe that is what Jesus told us to do. And, to try to prove my point, let's take a look at what Jesus Himself said to us. In Matthew 24:4, Jesus said; "See to it that no one misleads you." Jesus said: "See to it.."
Jesus is telling us to pay careful attention to what he is about to say next. To look closely and take what He is about to say seriously so we will not be deceived when the time comes. And, what deceptions are we to be careful of?
Matthew 24:5 says; "For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many."
Jesus is telling us to watch for the sign of the false messiah so we will not be deceived by these false messiah's when they come. Refer to Revelation 6:1&2; the first seal.
And to those who say this warning is to the nonbeliever and not to the Christian, let me just say this. Why would the unsaved world be looking for a false messiah? Why would they be concerned about it one way or another? Those people are not looking for the real Messiah. Much less cautious of a false one. So, who do you think Jesus is warning about the false messiah's and false prophets to come?
Here are some more reasons why we should be watching for the sign of the return of Jesus while we are spreading the gospel to all the world.
Jesus went on to say in Matthew 24:43-45; "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason YOU MUST ALSO BE READY; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?"
Jesus continued by telling us what will happen to those who are not prepared because they did not watch and know the season of His return.
Matthew 24:50&51 says; "...the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
It seems pretty clear to me. Rewards for the "faithful and sensible" servant who was ready for the return of his lord. And, there was "weeping and gnashing of teeth" for the servant who was caught unprepared,
This, again is not for the unsaved, nonbeliever. Why do I think this? Read the verses carefully. In both verses 45 and 50, both servants KNEW their lord, and KNEW he would one day return. The ONLY difference was; one was prepared for the return of his lord, and the other was not.
Ask yourself; what if I am right and Jesus does not take us home until well into Daniels 70th week of years? Or, what if He waits until the end of Daniel's 70th week to take us home?
In that case, many "so-called" teachers of God's word are leading many people astray. Instead of saying that we have nothing to worry about, because God will deliver us from great tribulation; they should be preparing us to go through seven years of great distress and tribulation (Matt. 24:21). Ive always been taught to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
In the final days of Daniel's 70th week of years, BELIEVERS will flee their homes because of the persecution brought upon them by the tyranny of the anti-Christ and his followers. There will be those who will remember just enough of their end time prophecy to know they are past the midway point in Daniel's 70th week. They will know this, because they saw the son of destruction declare himself God after desecrating the Holy of Holies in the new temple in Jerusalem. They saw him proclaim himself God and demand that the whole world bow down and worship him, or face his wrath,...not God's wrath of judgement. They will be subjected to his anti-Christian laws and witness the closing of their churches by the police.
These people will be very frightened and confused. They will think they were somehow left behind at the rapture as so many popular publications and movies falsely lead you to believe may happen. Because they will be delivered "to tribulation", "killed" and "hated by all nations" (Matt. 24:9) just because they are Christian's, they will run and hide.
Why!? Because, the were never taught the signs of the end times, or some preacher told them the signs were not important, or that the signs did not exist at all. Because, they were lied to!!
Or, their pastor never prepared his people for the persecution the church must endure, or just simply never told the truth. Or, did not know the truth, himself, because of the apostate seminary schools. These people will not know what to think. As frightened and confused as these people will be, they will believe almost anything. SEE TO IT! Do not be deceived!
Now, imagine this, if you will. The anti-Christ and his followers are going to be actively looking for Christian's during this period in time. He knows that as long as one Christian is alive, he cannot complete his conquest for world domination. The anti-Christ knows the prophecies of the end times better than most "so-called" Bible believing Christian's.
And, he knows that these people will be wondering what happened to Jesus. They will be asking where Jesus is and when will He come for them? Or, they may even be wondering if Jesus has forgotten them. Satan is such a liar, he may actually believe he can still beat God. And, if not, he is going to take as many people to hell with him as possible.
Jesus warned us 2000 years ago that there will be false prophets and messiah's in the last days. And, He warned us for a reason. The unprepared Christian's who fear they were left behind at the rapture will hear that Jesus is in the desert, or in some inner room waiting for them (Matthew 24:26 paraphrased).
They will have forgotten the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:27; "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
The will have forgotten that Jesus promised to come back for us. They will have forgotten that Jesus promised not to forget us.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:20; "...teaching them to observe ALL THAT I COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
They will have forgotten John 10:4&5; "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."
In their desperate attempt to find Jesus, they will forget the Words of Jesus,...provided that they were ever taught the True Words of Jesus to begin with. And, again, in their desperate attempt to find Jesus, these unprepared Christian's will leave their places of safety with their families only to be arrested by the anti-Christ and thrown into prison, or killed.
It will be no different than when the Christian's were fed to the lions by the Romans. I fully believe what the Nazis did to the Jews during the holocaust of World War Two will pale in comparison to what the anti-Christ will do to Jesuss people in the last days.
How are we to prepare ourselves for this time of tribulation and persecution? The answer is found in God's letter to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7-13. We do this by keeping God's word and not denying His Holy Name.
By keeping "the word of My perseverance," He will keep us from the "hour of testing." And, if we overcome, we shall become "a pillar in the temple of My God (the new temple in Jerusalem)." And the best part is; "...and he will not go out from it anymore." So much for falling from the Saving Grace of Jesus.
Revelation 2:7 says; "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Several times in the Revelation, God commands us to read these seven letters and to pay careful attention (See to it...) to their message to us.
Now is not the time to argue theology and personal opinions. Now is the time to "MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!"
But, ask yourself; what if I am right? What if we have taken the word of so many good intentioned people for so long without reading the Bible ourselves to find out for ourselves? What if we really do not know the truth because we have never taken the time to read and study God's Word for ourselves?
Bible study in many churches has become much like the childrens game of "pass it on." A game that has gone on for several generations without serious study of God's Word to verify the truth. Most people are of the opinion; If the Preacher said it on Sunday, then it must be true on Monday. One person tells another, and he tells another, and so forth until the Holy Word is so distorted that is no longer resembles what God actually said. Only this is no game. This is serious and has eternal benefits,...or consequences.
This is largely where most of the new "so-called" bible translations come from that openly and blatantly pervert, and deny God's Holy Words. Or, people don't like what God said, or don't like having their lifestyle questioned, so they write their own "bible." Like the "new and improved" so-called bible that has made its appearance on the shelves of the local Christian book store. This particular version is "gender neutral" so as not to offend our so-called Christian feminist readers. I am sure this, too, will make its way into mainstream churches quickly. Many churches today are that far gone. They have truly "fallen away".
What? You dont believe me about the "feminist bible?" Well, lets take a quick look at what one of the people who was on the translation team for one the more popular new versions had to say. It is very easy to verify,...if you are interested in seeking the truth for yourself. We will take a look at her words,..not mine.
"To refer to God Herself seems to me a humanly just way of referring to the One who is neither male nor female."
Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
New International Version (NIV) Translation Team
Lesbian, and author of the book; Is the homosexual my neighbor?
Dr. Mollenkott does, in fact, teach that God is a woman. There is much evidence to prove her feminist views. One such piece of evidence is when Edwin Palmer commended Mollenkott for her work on the NIV bible.
And, just who is Edwin Palmer? He was the Chief Editor of the NIV. Edwin Palmer flatly denies free will. And, at his own admission; "accepts the most illogical matters possible." He takes, what he calls, his "mystical faith" to its illogical limits. He also said;
"God is the one. God is in all. There is none other besides him. He controls the thoughts and activities of all men. Is sin within the Plan of the Holy One? Yes. All things are in the plan of God. Even our sin and evil. If sin were not in his plan, then he would no longer be almighty. There would be forces outside of him. All things are foreordained by God: the moving of a finger, the opening of a window, the mistake of a pianist while playing - even sin. The Bible describes man as utterly passive in the whole matter."
Edwin Palmer also denies that you must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in order to be saved. Here is another one of his comments, and then I will move on.
"This (the NIV translation) shows the great error that is so prevalent today in some Orthodox Protestant circles, namely the error that regeneration depend upon faith and that in order to be born again man must first accept Jesus as Savior."
I dont know about you, but that makes me nervous. That is truly scary. And, this is exactly why I do not, and will not have an NIV bible in my home. I have actually thrown copies of the NIV given to me as gifts into the trash can,...where they belong. And, make no mistake of this one fact; It is only going to get worse.
Much of the persecution many Christians will suffer will be at the hands who "claim" to be Christians and are "only doing the will of God by ridding society of these fanatical fundamentalist". Read the story of the apostle Paul in the book of Acts if you dont think something like that cannot happen.
I pray that you will not dismiss this study out of hand without some serious consideration. And, nor do I want you to accept every word without deep prayer and study of your own. It is my hope that this will draw you deep into your Bible and cause you to read it and study for yourself. Stop taking other peoples word blindly. God gave us the gift of understanding. Let His Holy Spirit lead you through the scriptures. He will cause you to understand.
You have seen my opinion, supported by Biblical evidence, why I no longer believe the return of Messiah Jesus is neither pre-tribulation, nor imminent. Now, lets take a look at what the Jews have to say about this.
The Jews!? What do the Jews know about Messiah Jesus!? Much less about His second coming!? I think you would be just as surprised as they would be. I know I was when I began to study the "Jewish connection" to the second coming of Messiah.
As mentioned, the Orthodox Jews are not looking for the "second coming" of Messiah. They do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Therefore, they discount His "first" coming. They are still looking for Messiah to come the first time. Not the second. So, again, you may be asking; What do the Jews know about the "second coming" of Messiah?
The Orthodox Jews know nothing about it. Or, at least, they dont think they do. But, what about the Messianic Jews? The Messianic Jews are believers in Master Yeshua as Messiah, and believe we are to keep the commands of the Torah as well as the commands of the New Covenant, or Messianic Scriptures found in the New Testament. They are Jews who follow Messiah Jesus.
Please let me make these points over the next several pages, and hopefully I will answer these, and other questions you may have.
However, when we learned something about the Jews (their calendar, the way of telling time, some of their customs and traditions) we understand the truth surrounding the life of Messiah Jesus.
The sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, Messiah Jesus was, and still is, steeped in Jewish religious custom and tradition. Just as the prophets of old and Jesus, Himself had foretold. The Pharisees that had Him put to the cross, and who were partakers in this ceremony refused to acknowledge that fact, but it is true.
What about the prophecies of the Tenak (Old Testament)? Most evangelical ministers teach, and I agree, the prophecies pertaining to the first coming of the Messiah, as well as His second coming, are clearly described in the Old Testament. The same ministers would say, and again I would agree, they cannot understand why the first century Jews ignored Jesus when the Old Testament clearly describes, and identifies Jesus as the Messiah. After all, it was the Rabbis and prophets of Judaism that wrote the Old Testament (and the New Testament, too). Yet, the first century Jews chose to ignore these signs and prophecies. And, they have paid the price for their disobedience since. And, I would ask; Why do most of those evangelical minister ignore the same signs and prophecies, and their very own words? That has me very confused.
The reasons "why" this happened, and "still happens" are as countless as they are complex. And, there is no short answer to those questions. Therefore, I will suffice to say; There are at least a few scholarly people with sufficiently open minds to see the error in these teachings. They will study Gods Holy Word, and pray hard enough until they are shown the truth by the Holy Spirit. Then, and only then, can the truth be taught. Other than that, I do not know why.
And, If Jesus came to abolish Judaism, why did He attend the Shabbat Shul (attend the synagogue) every Sabbath day?
He did!? Yes, He did! And, here is proof.
In the New Testament, Jesus is found in the Temple on the Sabbath 29 times. Three times in Matthew, five times in Mark, twelve times in Luke and nine times in the book of John.
And, in the book of John, Jesus is called "Rabbi" five times. This is a Jewish title meaning "teacher." If I was told about man, any man at random, doing these things, being in these places at specific times and called by such titles; I would logically conclude he was Jewish.
Is that all I have? No. There is more. The aforementioned was just for openers. The following will either convince you that Messiah Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, or it will convince me that you are not interested in who Jesus really is.
Mark 5:25-34 says; "A woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse- after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, If I just touch His garments, I will get well. Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, Who touched My garments? And His disciples said to Him, You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, Who touched Me?' And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
How does this prove Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi? These four quick points should answer that question.
1. The "cloak" Jesus was wearing is called a "Tallit" in Hebrew. Another way to describe is to call it a "prayer shawl." Jewish men only wear this "cloak" on the Sabbath, on the way to the temple. If Jesus is not Jewish, why was He wearing the garment of a Jewish worshiper?
2. In Matthew 9:20, it says what she specifically touched. "...and touched the fringe of His cloak." These "fringes" are called "tzitzit." They are tassels that are on each of the four corners of the cloak (Tallit). God commands men to wear them in the book of Deuteronomy to be a reminder of His commandments. If Jesus is not Jewish, why was He wearing these tassels on His Jewish prayer shawl? And, if we are not to obey the Torah, why was Jesus showing obedience to the Torah?
3. And, why did this woman think if she touched His cloak that she would be healed? What led her to believe this? Four hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Malachi said the Messiah would come and that He would have "healing in His wings." In Malachi 4:5; "But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall." This is a very specific reference to the tzitzit (tassels or fringe), also called "wings" on the corners of Jesuss Jewish prayer shawl.
4. And, lastly, why did the woman duck & cover after touching Jesuss garment? The scriptures say in Mark 5:33; "But the woman fearing and trembling,..." She was scared. Why? We must remember this incident occurred while the men were on their way to the Temple for Sabbath worship. According to Orthodox Jewish law, the Talmudic punishment for defiling a Rabbi was death by stoning. And, a woman touching the garment of a Rabbi was enough to be considered defiling. The woman was afraid she would be stoned. But, she acted believing this particular Rabbi was our Messiah. And, she was right when Jesus said; "And He said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
I want to make one more quick point to show the "Jewish Influence" of the first century believers and the 21st century Christian and then I will move on.
Luke 2:21-24 says; "And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days for their purification according to THE LAW OF MOSES were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS."
It clearly says that Messiah and His parents were observing the Torah. The only difference between my Bible and other translations is; the word "Torah" is replaced by the word "law." But, they are essentially the same.
However, my point is this. If God did not want us to obey the Torah, why was Jesus born into a Jewish family that did obey the Torah? And, if Messiah Jesus obeyed, dont you think we should? I will leave you to pray about that.
If you and I can see the "Jewish influence" in these areas; why cant the 21st century Christian and the evangelical church see the teachings of the Jews in the return of Messiah Jesus? Well, a few have. And, this is what has been learned.
Up to this point, I have shown several things. First of all; that God clearly showed the ancient Jews the time of year, or the season of the coming of the Messiah. In Luke 19:44, Jesus referred to it as; "...the time of your visitation."
What I want to show you now is just as fascinating as what we have discussed previously. That is; How the holidays and festivals of the Jews point to the first coming AND to the second coming of Messiah Jesus.
I am not talking about Christmas and Easter. These have no more to do with Biblical prophecy than the man-in-the-moon. Those are holidays for children and not for serious Bible students. I am talking about the customs and traditions of the people who actually put these prophecies on paper,...the Jewish prophets of the Bible.
From this point forward, I hope to show the reader that God, with equal clarity, shows us the season of the return of Messiah Jesus. Also, and not the least of which; Christianity could not exist without Judaism.
There is much evidence in the Bible to show where Jesus not only fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies through His first coming, but He will fulfill the remaining Old Testament prophecies, and His own Words in the New Covenant through His second coming.
The evidence is found in the ancient Jewish festivals, or feasts that the Jews have been obediently celebrating for almost 5,000 years.
"Obediently celebrating?" What does that mean? Read on and you will see. And, you will discover something wonderful that is taught in very few Christian churches today.
However, before we get too far into this, let me say this again for the record. I am not trying to show the day and the hour Jesus will return.
In Matthew 24:36, Jesus clearly said; "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
I also believe it is a sin to try to put a day and hour to the second coming of Messiah. However, I also believe that God put many signs pointing to the season of the return of Messiah. And that is what the remainder of this study will discuss.
In order to understand what is going to be discussed in the remainder of this study, you must put away your western thought patterns and begin to think like an ancient Jew, like the first century Jew and like a 21st century Orthodox Jew.
This is for what I feel to be obvious reasons. The Bible was written by the ancient, and first century Jews. The writers of the Bible used their calendars, terminology and religious traditions when they wrote the Bible. Not ours! So, to try and use our western traditions or means of understanding will only serve to confuse the issue.
In the Jewish religion, there are many holidays, feasts and festivals that are celebrated throughout the Hebrew year. There are seven major holidays that are very significant to the first coming of Messiah and to His return.
They are the four Spring festivals and the three Fall festivals that God commanded His people to celebrate as "a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations."
All seven of these annual festivals, or feasts are clearly described in the Bible.
"These are the appointed times (specific dates) of the LORD, holy convocations (Sabbath) which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them." Leviticus 23:4.
God did not tell His people to celebrate these festivals whenever the mood struck them. There are specific dates and times when we are commanded to celebrate the feasts.
God goes on to say in verse 21; "On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation (a Sabbath). You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations."
In these passages, God seems very clear to me. He said "you shall", "a perpetual statute" and "throughout your generations" (note the s. This is plural and not singular). These are commands without end.
Oh, yes; you may say. But, that is Old Testament. It does not apply to the New Testament church.
The "Old Testament", you say? You mean the same Old Testament that says; "Do not murder", "You do not commit adultery", "You do not steal" and "You do not bear false witness against your neighbor?"
The same Old Testament where the vast majority of the prophecies regarding the second coming of Messiah Jesus are found? The same Torah Jesus told us to obey if we "love" Him (John 14:15)? Do you mean; that Old Testament?
Lets see what the disciples of Jesus said, based on what Jesus, Himself taught them. Turn with me to Acts, chapter 15.
In this chapter, it is being discussed whether we are saved by our belief (grace), or by our own works.
Now, this is a very important subject and should be looked at very carefully, and strictly in the light of Gods Holy Word. God makes this very clear and we should not read into the passages. Accept them for what they say. Not what we want them to say.
Most interpretations of the Bible remind me of this old saying. "The best things in the Bible I ever did see, were put there by you and me."
Is that how you study the Bible? If so, it is time to change. Because, the truth is; The best things in the Bible were put there by God. Lets see what He has to say.
Acts 15:1, there is an attempt to deceive the believer and pervert the Word of God when it was said; "Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
Now, we all know this is not true. Lets see what the disciples said in response to this blasphemy.
Acts 15:2; "And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue."
Notice what it said. "...had GREAT dissension and debate with them,..." Paul and Barnabas were really upset over this. This was not what Messiah Jesus had taught them. And, Paul and Barnabas meant to set the record straight. In fact, they were going before the emissaries and the elders about this. Going to the leaders of the assembly to clarify what the Holy Scriptures say and to clear up this question.
Once in Jerusalem, Peter enters the picture and gives us his wonderful insight in Acts 15:7-11; "After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you (the Jews), that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them (the gentiles) giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us (the Jews); and He made no distinction between us and them (Jew and gentile), cleansing their hearts BY FAITH. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear (trying to earn salvation by works)? But we believe that we (the Jews) are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are (the gentiles)."
Wow!! That was awesome. In fact, the scripture says in Acts 15:12, the crowd was so awe struck that they, too, were silent. But, what has that got to do with the Old Testament having application on the 21st century evangelical church? That question should be answered with the statement of James, the half brother of Jesus.
In Acts 15:14-21, James says; "Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles (converting Abraham to Judaism) a people for His name. With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written (in the Old Testament), AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT, SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES (those not yet saved by Jesus) WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME,' SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO (Old Testament times). Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
Can you imagine the opportunity James had? Sitting around the fire, after the evening meal, talking with his brother, Jesus the Messiah and Redeemer? That would have been awesome for me. And, I hope to one day do exactly that with my Savior. But, for now, lets look again at what James said.
In Acts 15:19, James said; "...we do not trouble those..." This means; No unnecessary burden with things they do not yet understand. After all, these are "baby" Christians...if you will. James, along with the other disciples, want to see these people comfortably digesting "the milk" of the Word before trying to force "the meat" down their throats. But, James clearly points out that we should at least introduce them to "the meat" of the Word through careful education...writing to them.
James goes on to say in Acts 15:20; "...but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood."
Excuse me, but this is straight out of the Old Testament,...from the Law,...from the Torah. James, the half brother of Messiah Jesus is saying; Teach them the Torah. And, James goes on to say where they should be taught in verse 21; "...in the synagogues every Sabbath."
This is important enough that I am going stress on this for a moment. So, please bear with me. Turn with me to Romans, chapter 3 for Pauls opinion on this.
In Romans, chapter 3, Paul is again writing on this subject. Are we saved by faith or is it by works? Do we need to be taught the Torah, or does it no longer apply to the evangelical church?
Paul answers those questions in Romans 3:21-31; "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested (through Jesus), being witnessed by the Law (Torah) and the Prophets (of the Old Testament), even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. Do we then nullify the Law (the Torah) through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law."
In a nut shell, Paul clearly teaches that no one is found righteous in the eyes of God through works. This is what the prophet Isaiah said about "that kind" of righteousness.
In Isaiah 64:6, he said; "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."
Not a lot of gray area there. But, the point is; No one is saved through works. Never have. Never will be. Not even in Old Testament times. It was even said of Abraham that it was his faith in God that made him righteous. It certainly was nothing Abraham did to earn such righteousness.
Refer to James 2:20-23; "But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and he was called the friend of God."
This clearly says Abraham was saved in the same manner as you and I were. By faith in God. The only thing our meager works do is perfect our faith. It shows God that we love Him enough to serve Him. Nothing more.
But, what I find most interesting in this passage is this. James referred back to the Old Testament for his example. Were there no fitting examples in the New Testament? Of course there were. So, why the example from the Old Testament? And, why did James still refer to Abraham as "our father" if Judaism and the Old Testament were set aside at the coming of Jesus? I think it is because God wanted to make the point the Torah still applies.
While I am on the subject of the Old Testament and Abraham, I want to show you one more really interesting things before moving on.
Look back in Acts 15:14 where James said; "Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name."
Thats not interesting! Thats confusing! Right!? Well, yes,...until you understand what James is trying to tell us. Please permit me to paraphrase this verse in an effort to understand what we are being told.
"Simeon has declared how God first visited Abraham, while he was still a gentile, to take out of Abrahams people the Nation of Israel for His Name."
Thats right. Abraham was the first Jew. But, prior to that, he was a gentile. Abraham was not a Jew until God approached him in Genesis 17, made with covenant with Abraham and then commanded an order of worship that later became known as Judaism.
I just thought that was really interesting. And, I thought you may find it interesting, too.
Okay. Enough of that. I got too carried away and I am way off the subject. I felt that was too important to just let it go. But, now, lets move on to the seven Jewish holidays and festivals I wish to discuss. And, to once again, show where the Jewish festivals and the Old Testament have a direct impact on the 21st century evangelical church.
The four Spring festivals are:
1. The Feast of Passover,
2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread,
3. The Feast of Firstfruits and
4. The Feast of Pentecost.
The three Fall festivals are:
1. The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah),
2. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and
3. The Feast of Tabernacles.
There is another mentioned very briefly in the Bible. In fact, if you are not looking for it, you can easily miss it. It is Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. It is also known as Chanukah. Chanukah is an ancient Hebrew word which means: Dedication.
In John 10:22, you will see where Jesus was in the temple during Hanukkah. It says; "At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;..."
This passage speaks of Hanukkah. Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is a Hebrew word which means; Dedication. This festival occurs in the month December. There are two other festivals celebrated by Jesus recorded in the Bible. They are Tabernacles and Passover. Note that Jesus did not color Easter eggs and put up a Christmas tree.
There is another fascinating thing mentioned in John 10:23 about Jesus. It says; "...it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon."
You may ask; So what? The "portico" was the Holy of Holies within the Temple. Only the chief priests could go in there. It was blasphemy for anyone else to set foot within this holy place. Was Jesus allowed to be in the Holy of Holies? Well, we all believe the answer to that question is, absolutely yes. But, does the Bible support our opinion?
It says in Hebrews 7:14-17; "For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."
In short; Yes! The Bible clearly says that Jesus was certainly allowed inside the Holy of Holies.
Compared to the other religious festivals on the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah is a relative new-comer as it was established in 165 BC. Hanukkah is a minor holiday, without a Sabbath. But, I still believe it will play a major role in the completion of Daniels 70th week of years.
The seven major festivals I will discuss were established by God prior to 1700 BC (the book of Exodus was written in approximately 1706 BC by Moses).
Hanukkah basically has two themes; The victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian, Antiochus Epiphanes in 166 BC, and the rededication of the Temple. Right now, none of this has any relevant bearing on this study. However, I will soon make a very interesting point using Hanukkah. So, please dont forget what I said here.
God also assigned specific dates for each of the festivals, and they are to be remembered on these dates each year throughout all generations. Keep in mind, this was not something which was requested by God. It was commanded by Him.
The Jewish calendar is really very simple. The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle rather than a solar cycle, like the calendar we use today. The months alternate between having 30 days, and 29 days. It is alternated every other month, i.e.; the first month, Nissan has 30 days and the second month , Iyar has 29 days and so forth throughout the year. The day the moon is first visible after the new moon marks the first day of each month.
Every third year, a 13th month is added. This is the month of Ve-Adar (translated as; the second Adar). For lack of better terminology, I will call this a "leap-month". This acts in the same way as our "leap-year".
It is inserted 7 times every 19 years (every 3 years). It works out to give the Jewish calendar an average of 365 days per year for each 19 year cycle. Our Julian calendar give us an average of 365 days per year for each 4 year cycle.
The Jews have two calendars; a civil calendar and a religious calendar. In the Old Testament books of Exodus and Leviticus the religious calendar is used. I will also use the religious calendar. The months of the Jewish religious calendar are as follows:
1. Nisan (Abib, or Aviv) - 30 days
March - April
2. Iyar (Zif) - 29 days
April - May
3. Sivan - 30 days
May - June
4. Tammuz - 29 days
June - July
5. Av (Ab) - 30 days
July - August
6. Elu (Elul) - 29 days
August - September
7. Tishri (Ethanim) - 30 days
September - October
8. Chesvan (Bul) - 29 days
October - November
9. Kislev (Chisleu) - 30 days
November - December
10. Tevet (Tebeth) - 29 days
December - January
11. Shvat (Sebat) - 30 days
January - February
12. Adar - 29 days
February - March
13. Ve-Adar (the second Adar) - 29 days
Inserted 7 times every 19 years (every 3 years).
The month of Nisan (sometimes call Aviv) is the ancient month of Abib. It is the first month of the year on the Jewish religious calendar. God changed it from Tishri to Nisan in Exodus 12:2.
In relationship to our Julian calendar, the month of Nisan starts in our late March or early April depending on the cycle of the moon. As you will soon see, this is why the evangelical church and the Catholics celebrate Easter in the Spring time.
Within each festival, there is much ceremony to be observed. Instructions for each festival can be found in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus. There is a great deal of information and insight to be learned from each of the festival ordinances. However, in order to keep this study brief, as well as informative, I will keep it to a minimum. I encourage you to study this for yourself.
Now that I have provided you with some foundational information, lets get started on how these ancient Jewish festivals apply to the 21st century Christian.
In Luke 19:41-44; Jesus was talking with His disciples on the Mount of Olives outside of Jerusalem. This passage speaks of the sorrow Jesus was experiencing because His people refused to believe the prophecies that foretold His coming, and what would befall the Jews and Jerusalem as a result.
The Bible says in Luke 19:41-44; "When He (Jesus) approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you (the Jews) had known in this day, even you (talking to the disciples who were with Jesus), the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation (the first coming of the Messiah)."
Jesus lamented over Jerusalem and all of Israel. Jesus knew what was to befall them for their disobedience. Yes, disobedience! Not ignorance! The Jews had nearly destroyed themselves by not studying the Word of God, not knowing the prophecies that clearly foretold the coming of the Messiah and thereby not knowing the time the Messiah would come to them ("...the time of your visitation."). For some of them, it was an intentional and deliberate rejection.
How could they have known that they were living in the time of the Messiah? It would have been unfair of God to punish His people if they did not know the time of His visitation. If He had failed to tell them when to expect it, or how they would know. I believe most people would agree with that. However, God is a just God, and He did not place His people in such a circumstance.
This is one point I wish to labor on throughout this study. Also, to stress that it is no different today. God told His people over 2600 years ago of the first coming of the Messiah. See Daniel chapter 9. And, the Bible clearly tells us today of the second coming of the Messiah with the same prophecies, and with very the words of Jesus, Himself. God can, and will hold us responsible because we were forewarned of these events many, many years ago. And, He tells us each and every time we pick up His Word.
Over 600 years before the birth of Jesus, the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel, the prophet specific information concerning the first and second coming of the Messiah. Gabriel supplied us with a precise timetable for this event. This is recorded in the 9th chapter of Daniel. Gabriel told Daniel there would be 70 weeks to finish the transgression, to make an end to sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Gabriel made it clear to Daniel that the first 69 weeks will commence with the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. These 69 weeks will end when the Messiah is "cut off" (crucified).
The actual length of time of the 70 weeks is determined from the Hebrew word "heptad" which means 7 years. Therefore, with the understanding that each week (heptad) actually represents a 7 year period rather than 7 days, the time in reality is 490 years.
The commandment to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem was given by King Artaxerxes of Persia as recorded in the book Nehemiah, chapter 2. The commandment restore Jerusalem was given in approximately 450 BC. This is believed for the following reasons;
1. In Daniel 9:26, the Most Holy God says; "Then after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off (crucified),...
2. 62 weeks is 434 years.
3. The restoration of Jerusalem took 49 years (7 weeks).
4. 62 weeks plus 7 weeks equals 69 weeks (483 years).
5. Jesus was born in the year 1 BC, and His earthly life was approximately 33 years.
6. Subtract 33 years from 483 years and you have 450 years.
7. This leaves us with the year 450 BC.
Remember, there is no "year zero" in the calendar. When Jesus was born, we went straight from the year 1 BC to the year 1 AD.
I will discuss the remaining 7 years (Daniels 70th week of years) of the 490 years later in this study, and how it pertains to the end times. For now, we only need to understand that all of Israel should have been fully aware of the time in which they were living, the time of their visitation. Because, it happened exactly as it was prophesied hundreds of years earlier. And, we should know the time we live in because, the Bible, with equal clarity, has told us of the time of our visitation. Now, lets look at the prophecies concerning the return of our Messiah.
But, once again, and for the record; The term "seven year tribulation" IS NOT found anywhere in the Bible. Therefore, with the exception to prove a point, the term "seven year tribulation" will not be used again in this study. Rather, the proper term, "Daniels 70th week of years" will be used instead.
Many scriptures foretold the first coming of the Messiah. By reading them, one could have, and should have recognized the coming of the Messiah. The practice of the annual festivals teach the message of the coming of the Messiah. This was, and is the chief purpose of the feasts (festivals). As a matter of fact, they really have no other purpose than to foretell the coming of the Messiah.
We will now look at the four Spring festivals, or feasts. Once again, they are Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Pentecost.
The Four Fall Festivals
The first festival I wish to discuss is the Feast of Passover. In the celebrating of this feasts one remembers the time in which Israel was held captive in Egypt by Pharaoh, when God said He would go out into the midst of Egypt and all of the firstborn in the land would die. See Exodus 11:4&5. However, the house of Israel was protected from this curse by lambs blood. The Lord promised to "pass over" their houses when He saw the blood. See Exodus 12:21-23.
Shortly after this event God declared the month of Nisan (Aviv) to be the first month of the year. See Exodus 12:2. God told Moses to instruct all Israel that on the 10th day of this month each family was to take a male lamb, without blemish and set it apart from the rest of the flock. They were to keep it until the 14th day of the same month. Then they were to kill it in the evening if the 14th. See Exodus 12:3-11. The Feast of Passover is therefore always observed on the 14th of Nisan, just as God commanded them. See Exodus 12:18 and Deuteronomy 16:1.
Please note that God did not move the dates around to accommodate a three day weekend and/or a white sale at the mall. These festivals are to take place on the same date each and every year without exception. This is what Father God has COMMANDED!
It must be understood, the Feast of Passover not only reflects back to the exodus of Israel from Egypt, but also towards the fulfillment of the coming of the Messiah, as do all the festivals. In other words, the Messiah will personify the ordinances of these festivals when He comes. Therefore, by practicing the ordinances of the festivals one should become familiar with their message and thereby recognize the Messiah when He manifests the message of the festivals within His life. And, the fulfillment of the first coming of Messiah was accomplished on the cross when He became the Passover Lamb.
The first coming of the Messiah brought Jesus to us as the Passover Lamb. We find confirmation of this in the words of John the Baptist, when he said in John 1:29; "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
Which fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 53:7; "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth."
On Passover, our Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus was hanging on the cross. He died at the 9th hour (approx. 3:00pm) the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan. See Luke 23:44-46.
Remarkably, as Jesus was being sealed into the tomb, Israels high priest (the same ones who had Jesus crucified) stood in the temple, cut the throat of the sacrificial lamb and laid it on the alter as per Gods instructions for the continuation of the Feast of the Passover. Thus, Jesus, through His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, fulfilled the scriptures and the Feast of the Passover with His lifes blood.
It must be noted that Passover IS NOT just a one day festival. Passover is actually an EIGHT DAY festival. Passover includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which I will discuss next. This should help to clear up any confusion on how Jesus could be crucified on Passover, yet the High Priest celebrated the Passover on the evening of the next day.
We must never, never forget the ancient Jews did not do things the way 21st century westerners do. We must always adapt to their thinking, customs and traditions when studying them.
"Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed." I Corinthians 5:7
THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
The second feast is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It begins at sundown (which begins the next day), the 15th of Nisan. This is a continuation of Passover. The Jewish day begins at sundown each evening (approximately 6:00pm), not at midnight as with our Julian calendar.
This feast is to continue for 7 days, from the 15th of Nisan through the 21st.
"Then on the fifteenth day of the same month (Nisan) there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread." Leviticus 23:6.
"They shall eat the flesh (of the lamb) that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs." Exodus 12:8.
Biblically, leaven (yeast) represents sin. Therefore, the eating of unleavened bread is representative of not only the freedom from the bondage of Egypt, but the freedom from the bondage of sin as well. To eat it with bitter herbs signifies the bitter price of sin. The price paid by our Lord, Jesus upon the cross for our redemption.
The 15th and the 21st of Nisan are also Sabbath days unto the Lord. "On the first day (the 15th) you shall have a holy convocation (a Sabbath); you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the seventh day (the 21st) is a holy convocation (a Sabbath); you shall not do any laborious work." Leviticus 23:7&8.
There is a mistaken belief by many Christians that Saturday is the only Sabbath day. We must understand that Saturdays are not the only Sabbath days on the Jewish religious calendar. God proclaimed the 15th and the 21st of Nisan, as well as many other dates on the Jewish religious calendar, to be a Sabbath day. And, this is regardless of what day of the week they may fall upon.
The Bible said in John 19:31; "Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away."
Most evangelical Christians know nothing about how Jews observe their calender. Yet, most of the "authoritative" writings in Christian book store were written by those "experts." You need to remember this.
The is ONLY ONE "high day" Sabbath on the Jewish calender. And, it IS NOT the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 15th and 21st of Nisan are MINOR Sabbaths.
The "high day" spoken of in the Bible is the 7th day Sabbath. It is the Sabbath every obedient Jew observes every Friday evening with the lighting of the Sabbath Lights. THERE IS NO OTHER. Period.
I have always been told the Sabbath spoken of in John 19 preceded the weekly 7th day (Saturday) Sabbath. I was told it was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread...which, again, is a MINOR Sabbath. But, after more then three years of studying with Jews, I have learned this is absolutely not true.
THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS
The third Spring festival is the Feast of Firstfruits. It falls on the day following the weekly 7th day (Saturday) Sabbath, which requires it to be on the 1st day of the week (Sunday) following the 15th of Nisan. Again, this is regardless of what day of the week the 15th falls on.
"Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath (Sunday) the priest shall wave it." Leviticus 23:9-11.
"But on the first day of the week (the Sunday following the 15th of Nisan),..." Luke 24:1. Messiah Jesus had already risen. He was being offered before God as our firstfruit as an acceptance for our sins. Yet another observance of the Torah in the New Testament by our Lord.
Please remember that Jesus is our Firstfruits. "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His (second) coming," I Cor 15: 20&23.
Therefore, as the priest waved the sheaf of firstfruits each year to make Israel acceptable unto God, so did the resurrection of our Messiah Jesus, a priest forever; became the firstfruits unto God once and for all time.
"...but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever (shall live forever), holds His priesthood permanently." Hebrews 7:24.
By the eternal grace of God, and through the selfless sacrifice of Messiah Jesus on the cross for the sins of man and His resurrection unto eternal life; we can now come boldly unto the throne of God and be acceptable to God through the saving grace of Messiah Jesus.
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16.
Amen, and forever Amen!!
The fourth festival is the Feast of Pentecost. "You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath (Sunday), from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath (Sunday); then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD." Leviticus 23:15-16.
In the early morning hours following the night God passed over the land of Egypt and all of the first born had died, the Israelites departed Goshen and made their way into the desert. Shortly thereafter, Pharaoh pursued them. The Israelites then found themselves trapped at the waters edge of the Red Sea. But, God delivered them from the Egyptians by parting the waters through Moses, giving the Israelis an escape route.
The date on which God delivered the Israelites through the waters, and across the dry bed of the Red Sea was by no coincidence on the Feast of Firstfruits. Fifty days later (on Pentecost), in the month of Sivan, at Mount Sinai, God descended upon the mountains as a flaming fire with lightening and thunder. It was here God delivered the Torah (the ten commandments - books of the Law) to Moses on Mount Sinai. See Exodus, chapters 19&20.
Likewise, fifty days from the Feast of Firstfruits, and of the resurrection of Jesus, is the day of the Feast of Pentecost. On this day, God sent forth His Holy Spirit, descending upon the disciples like tongues of fire.
"When the day of Pentecost had come (50 days later), they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." Acts 2:1-4.
Let me say this very quickly and then I will move on. The gift of tongues is not some nonsensical gibberish that some call "praying in the spirit". This alleged "praying in the spirit", or "speaking in tongues", as some doctrines call it, is absolutely unbiblical.
What the Bible does say is; "And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?" Acts 2:6-8.
The gift of tongues is a known language. Other men heard the Apostles speak, and they understood what was being said. So, if anyone tells you otherwise, suggest to them that they read their Bible.
And, dont forget the passage where God requires an interpreter. "If ANYONE speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God." I Cor 14:27&28.
Enough of that. Time to move on.
We can see that the point of the message to us found in observing the four Spring festivals were to announce the first coming of the Messiah. We also see that each prophetic message was specific, and each was accurately and completely fulfilled.
Moreover, it was Jesus who fulfilled them in every respect, declaring His credentials. Therefore, when Jesus returns at His second coming, there is more than mere speculation on the part of the believer that Jesus will fulfill the messages of the three Fall festivals with the same accuracy. Thereby bringing fulfillment of the prophecies.
James, the half brother of Jesus (same mother, but certainly different fathers) also ties the coming of Jesus together with the teachings of the seven major festivals with the example of the rain; the early and the late rain.
"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near." James 5:7&8.
I have read and have been taught by those who claim James 5:7&8 is referring only to the first coming of Jesus, and therefore, is speaking strictly of a past tense event. I would argue this and say; James is speaking of both a past event, AND a future event yet to be fulfilled.
Those two events are;
1. The first coming of the Messiah.
The early rain.
Which was fulfilled with the birth, life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
2. The second coming of the Messiah.
The late rain.
Will be fulfilled with the return of Jesus sometime in the future.
James is exhorting us to rest in the promises of God, and to be "patient" until we receive the full promise of the early and the late rain.
Thus far, we have only received a portion of the promise. That of the early rain. The remaining portion of the promise (the late rain) will be received when Jesus returns near the end of Daniels 70th week of years.
Also note the specific wording; "...for the coming of the Lord is near." This implies a future tense. James, the half-brother of Jesus knew that our Messiah had already come the first time. Therefore, James is telling us to be patient until He comes again.
James is telling the believer to be patient and to wait until we receive the full promise of God when Jesus returns and fulfills the prophecy of the late rain.
If this was referring strictly to a past tense event, it would be like telling someone to sit on the corner and wait for a bus which had already passed by.
No, this is not strictly a past tense event. It is referring to both. A past event AND a future event yet to be fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus.
Now, lets move on to the prophecies regarding the "late rain" and see if God tells us of our time of visitation just as He told the ancient Jews.
The three Fall festivals (the late rain) come in the seventh month of the month, Tishri. Tishri falls in conjunction with our September or October. Again, depending on the cycle of the moon.
The nature of the three Fall festivals quite deliberately reveals future events which are yet to be fulfilled. With one exception. And, that is in regards to the birth of Jesus, which I will discuss shortly.
Unlike the Spring festivals where we have the benefit if hindsight due to their fulfillment, the impact of the Fall festivals may slip by those who do not know the significance of Jewish law as it pertains to Christianity. This is why I not only say that Christianity could not exist without Judaism, but also, Christians can never fully understand the Bible without some knowledge of Judaism.
The festivals themselves do not foretell a specific year in which the Messiah will fulfill the message. However, each of the Fall festivals points to a specific event, occurring within a specific festival or feast, within the plan of God that will be fulfilled by Messiah Jesus when He returns.
It is therefore a logical deduction for us to conclude that God has appointed these Fall festivals to reveal His intent with the same deliberate resolve and with the same remarkable accuracy as was found in the fulfillment of each of the Spring festivals at their appointed times.
The Three Spring Festivals
THE FEASTS OF TRUMPETS
The first of the three Fall festivals is the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation (a Sabbath)." Leviticus 23:24.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the 1st of Tishri, which is the 7th month of the Jewish religious calendar. Here again we find the appointment of another Sabbath day. Furthermore, we find the inclusion of many themes taught in the celebration of this feast. However, for the purpose of this study, we will limit our attention to its main theme; the resurrection of the dead.
Judaism teaches that the resurrection of the dead will one day take place at the blowing of a Shofar (a trumpet made from the horn of a ram) during the festival of Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of the Trumpets). The Apostle Paul was very familiar with these customs.
Before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul, a Jew was a Pharisee. He knew the law (the Torah) forwards and backwards. So, is it any coincidence that God would convert this murderer of Christians in the 1st century and have him teach us the ways of the Jews, and the Torah so we would understand the prophecies in the 21st century? I assure you, it is no coincidence. Paul knew the law, he knew the customs and he knew their significance to prophecy. This is why God chose to teach us these things through Paul. As an example, here are excerpts from just two of Pauls letters.
I Corinthians 15:51&52 says; "Behold, I tell you a mystery (something not previously known); we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
I Thessalonians 4:16 says; "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
We Christians are familiar with the above Scriptures, and we understand them by use of the word Rapture, the gathering of the believers unto Messiah. Please note; the word Rapture does not appear in the Bible. The term Day of the Lord is used (II Thessalonians. 2:2), and this is understood to be what we call the rapture.
And, as Paul would not want you to be confused, nor would I. Please understand the term Day of the Lord also applies to the wrath of God. Refer back to page 22 of this study for an explanation.
However, the Jews understand this message by way of the teachings of the festival of the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), which conveys a very similar message. The Jew and the Christian therefore agree that God will gather His children unto Himself at the last trumpet, at the last day.
John 11:24 says; "Martha said to Him (Jesus), I know that he (Marthas brother, Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
One very quick point involving Paul before moving on. This is directed to those who claim the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Please refer to three statements made by Paul in the books of Acts.
Acts 21:40; "When he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs, motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush, he (Jesus) spoke to them in the HEBREW dialect, saying,.."
Acts 22:2; "And when they heard that he was addressing them in the HEBREW dialect,..."
Acts 26:14; "And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the HEBREW dialect,..."
Why would Jesus speak to Paul in Hebrew? Perhaps it was because Paul spoke Hebrew. And, if Paul spoke Hebrew, would it not be logical to assume he also wrote in Hebrew, and not in Greek?
Even Mary spoke to Jesus in Hebrew. Look at John 20:16; "Jesus said to her, Mary! She turned and said to Him in HEBREW, Rabboni! (which means, Teacher)."
Please let me comment on this last verse very briefly. Is states "Rabboni" means "Teacher." This is a wrong translation. This is the problem when people who know nothing about the Jews are charged with translating Hebrew scriptures.
The word "Rabbi" does mean "Teacher." Rabbi is the root word of Rabboni. However, it is obvious they are two different words. Therefore, it stands to reason they will have two different definitions.
The word "Rabboni" has multiple meanings. Its meaning is determined on how the word is used in the sentence. It can mean "Great Teacher", "Great One", "Great Prince" or "Great Presence."
It is a word used by Jews to show high respect. And, keep in mind, it is used only twice in the entire Bible. In Matthew 10:51 and again in John 20:16. And, only when speaking about our Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Even Dr. James Strong in The New Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible disagrees with the English translation of Rabboni. According to Dr. Strong, Rabboni is, quote; "A Jewish tile of respect."
Dr. Strong goes on to say this in his New Strongs Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament with their Renderings in the King James Version.
In Strongs number 4461, in the Greek, it says, quote; "my master" and "an official title of honor." But, not "teacher."
The month that precedes Tishri is the month of Elul, and lasts for 29 days. Each day of Elul, the trumpet (Shofar) is blown to warn the people that Rosh Hashanah is approaching. Rosh Hashanah is also called the Day of Judgement.
The call of this trumpet is a call to repentance before the last trumpet is blown on the 1st of Tishri, which is the day of the Feast of Trumpets. Therefore, the trumpet is actually blown for 30 days. This little bit of information will be important later. So, please keep it in mind.
Therefore, in keeping with what we have understood to be the pattern of God concerning the festivals, and what the Scriptures have said to us, it may be reasonable to expect the gathering of Gods people to be at the last trumpet sounding at a future Rosh Hashanah celebration.
Keeping in mind however, we do not have the benefit of hindsight to guide us to such clear understanding as with the four Spring festivals. Yet, I believe there is sufficient Biblical evidence where this cannot simply be written off by the reader as mere speculation on the part of the writer.
We must realize; God, Himself established the feasts, and He commanded they be observed throughout all generations,...a law forever. Their messages should have been clear in the minds of His people.
Throughout the Old Testament, God said He would come to us. And He did. He came to us as the man Jesus, fulfilling a portion of His promise as the suffering Messiah, of which the four Spring festivals foretold. Although I approach my conclusions with great caution, I look to God to deal similarly with the three Fall festivals.
Before moving on, let me address the concerns of those who may say; This is not possible. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law, and did so through His birth, life, crucifixion, death and resurrection. The law does not apply to the New Testament church."
In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said; "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I DID NOT come to abolish but to fulfill."
Using this verse, can you show me where Jesus threw out Torah? I personally do not think you can. Because, He didn't.
Jesus came the first time to fulfill the laws and the prophecies regarding His first coming. But, Jesus did not fulfill ALL of the laws and the prophecies. There are still some that exist that pertain to His second coming.
This has nothing to do with your salvation. That part of the law was completely fulfilled on the cross. But, the laws and the prophecies regarding the second coming are yet to be fulfill, but shall be when Jesus returns. In short, Jesus did fulfill certain laws and prophecies when He came the first time, but not all of the them. The remaining ones will be fulfilled at His return.
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
The second festival is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you (a Sabbath), and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God." Leviticus 23:27.
To the Jew, this day marks the most holy day of the year. It is the day in which Israel mourns her sin. Yom Kippur is the only festival day in which fasting and prayer is commanded, for the repentance of sin. Hence; "...humble your souls..."
It is also the only day of the year in which the priest could enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple, where Gods glory could be seen upon the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
The first ten days of the month of Tishri (from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur) are called High Holy Days, or The Days of Awe. This is the most sacred time of the Jewish year. During this time, it is taught that each person becomes accountable to God for his sins. It is also believed that the time from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur bear significance to Daniels 70th week of years ("...great tribulation...", Matt, 24:21).
In the observance of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), also known as Yom haPeduth (The Day of Redemption) we find two themes taught: atonement and redemption.
With the coming of Yom Kippur comes the atonement of sin (The Day of the Lord-meaning: Gods wrath). But, more importantly, for those in Messiah, it teaches the coming of Gods redemption (The Day of the Lord - meaning: the rapture).
Jewish teachings associates this feast with the coming of the Messiah as it is taught in the 14th chapter of Zechariah.
In Zechariah 14:4&5, the Most Holy God said; "In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones (the dead in Messiah) with Him (rapture - See I Thessalonians 4:16)!"
As Christians, we can agree with the Jew that this indeed speaks of the coming of the Messiah. However, we agree with one major exception. The Orthodox Jew is still waiting for the first coming of the Messiah,...whomever he may. Because, the Orthodox Jew does not believe Yeshua haMacshiach hu Adonai (Jesus the Messiah is Lord).
For the Christian AND the Messianic Jew, we are waiting for the return of the Messiah Jesus. May He come soon!
It is at this time Gods people will have been thrust into "...great tribulation..." (the latter half of Daniels 70th week of years as foretold in the 9th chapter of Daniel). Many will fall under the sword of the anti-Christ and will suffer greatly for their witness of Messiah Jesus. See Revelation 13:7-10.
Therefore, this day will be the Day of Atonement for the enemies of the Lord; and the Day of Redemption for Gods chosen ones. See Revelation 19:11-21.
Please note, the key word in the next question is; "IF".
If Messiahs return is on the Day of Atonement, and with it comes the end of Daniels 70th week of years, does it not stand to reason that the confirmation of the 7 year covenant between the anti-Christ and the nation of Israel must also be on a Yom Kippur celebration 7 years prior?
It is, after all, the entering into this covenant that officially begins Daniels 70th week of years. See Daniel 9:27. After all, Daniels 70th week of years is the last 7 years of recorded history before Messiahs return.
And, when shall this be? I have absolutely no idea.
But, the Bible says in Daniel 12:11&12; "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up (Daniel 9:27), there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!"
What in the world does that mean!? I asked that very same question of God for a long time. In an effort to answer that question, lets look at what God said in Daniel 9:27.
"And he (the anti-Christ) will make a firm covenant with the many (the Israelis) for one week (7 years - Daniels 70th week of years), but in the middle of the week he (the anti-Christ) will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." See Matthew 24:15 and II Thessalonians 2:2.
Still confused? Thats OK. I was too for the first couple of years I was researching this subject. Rather than go into a lot of detail that doesnt matter right now, I will stick with my point.
Sometime in the future, at the very beginning of Daniels 70th week of years, the anti-Christ will broker an agreement between Israel and her enemies. The signing of this agreement (covenant) will start the final 7 years of history, Daniels 70th week of years.
However, in the midst of the 7 year period, something will cause the anti-Christ to desecrate the Holy of Holies of the new Temple yet to be built in Jerusalem. Remember, this is a future event.
Daniel 12:11&12 clearly mentions two specific numbers of days, 1290 days and 1335 days. Daniel 12:11 clearly states that from the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27), to a point in the future, there will pass 1335 days.
Then something will happen. How do I know this?
Because verse 12 says; "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!"
The Bible clearly says; "How blessed is he,..." Does that sound like Gods wrath? Not to me, it doesnt. To me it sounds like something good is about to happen. But what?
For the next few of paragraphs, please permit me to speculate.
First of all, there is a 45 day difference between 1290 and 1335 days (1335 - 1290 = 45). From the abomination of desolation to this future time is 1290 days. This leaves 45 days to be reckoned with.
Now, please consider the Festivals of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles. I will discuss the Festivals of Tabernacles at length shortly. But, for the moment, this is all you will need to know.
1. From the 1st day of Elul to the 1st day of Tishri, the Shofar is blown to announce the coming of Rosh Hashanah.
This lasts for 30 days.
2. Rosh Hashanah on the 1st of Tishri to Yom Kippur on the 10th.
This is 10 days.
3. Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri to Tabernacles on the 15th.
This is another 5 days.
Add them all together. 30 days + 10 days + 5 days = 45 days. 1290 days + 45 days = 1335 days. Coincidence? Perhaps. But, I dont think so. I believe there is too much biblical evidence for this to be arbitrarily written off as mere speculation on the part of the writer.
Do you remember that I mentioned Hanukkah earlier in the book? Remember that Hanukkah has two themes. Once again, they are the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian, Antiochus Epiphanes in 166 BC, and the rededication of Solomons Temple. This rededication was necessary because Epiphanes had desecrated the Temple,...much like the anti-Christ will.
Now for the "interesting point" I promised. Start with the 15th of Tishri (the beginning of the Festival of Tabernacles), and count backwards 1335 days. In doing so, this will take you back approximately 3 ½ years. It will also bring you back to the approximate time of Hanukkah.
Please remember that it is difficult to get precise with any timetable when you are trying to convert the Julian calendar to a Jewish calendar, or visa versa. So, the times will be approximate, but still quite applicable to what I am trying say here.
Remember what God said in Daniel 9:27; "...but in the middle of the week..." Sometime near the middle of Daniels 70th week of years, the anti-Christ will desecrate the new Temple in Jerusalem, just as Antiochus Epiphanes did in 166 BC.
Remember, Epiphanes was not the anti-Christ. And, the Temple spoken of in Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 has not yet been built,...but it will be.
Imagine this if you will. The anti-Christ brokers a peace accord between Israel and her enemies at a future Yom Kippur. This peace accord (covenant) will bring approximately 3 ½ years of peace. Not only to Israel, but to the world itself. This is one of the things that will make the anti-Christ so revered by so many. This peace accord also makes it possible for Israel to rebuild Solomons Temple in Jerusalem.
Then comes Hanukkah, and the Jews wish to rededicate the new Temple. But, do they dedicate this new Temple to the man who helped make it possible? No! They dedicated it to the Living God. The anti-Christ is furious.
He will feel the Jews had no right to do this. He believes he should be the one to whom the temple should be dedicated...not God Therefore, he enters the Holy of Holies, desecrates the Temple and declares himself to be God, demanding all fall down and worship him.
1290 days later is Rosh Hashanah, and 45 days later (a total of 1335 days) is the Festival of Tabernacles.
Remember what God said in Daniel 12:11&12; "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!"
Still think it is a coincidence? As for myself, I dont think so. Personally, I think it is God showing His awesome sovereignty over prophetical events.
For the record; I have absolutely no evidence to support what I just said. However, I must also say this is more than speculation and conjecture on the part of the writer.
Reason being, there is too much biblical evidence for this to be simply written off as mere speculation on the part of the reader, or that of the writer.
However, as always, we approach such speculation with great caution to avoid blasphemy.
I am not speaking for God, nor do I pretend to do so. Such would be blasphemy and a sin. The point I am trying make is; There is much information in the Bible to show the believer the season of the return of Jesus. Just as there was much information given to the ancient Jews that announced first coming of the Messiah (...the time of your visitation. Luke 19:44).
But, how does the Feast of Tabernacles fit into what I just discussed? I will quickly finish up with the Feast of Yom Kippur, and I will answer that very question.
The anti-Christ is a counterfeit messiah, not just merely against Messiah. We must expect him to attempt to convince people that he is "the Messiah" in every way he can. He will deceive many by working wondrous signs and miracles. See Matthew 24:4, II Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13.
It is logical, therefore, that he will make every effort to fulfill the prophecies of the true Messiah, which may also include the prophecies foretold within each of the 7 festivals of the Messiah. In an effort to be as convincing as possible, the anti-Christ may attempt to pass himself off as the true Messiah by establishing a peace agreement with Israel during a future Yom Kippur celebration, which would be a good time to do so. Especially since Israel is standing on the brink of war with the Arabs as I write.
Never the less, because the Bible clearly states that the anti-Christ ("...the man of lawlessness,...") will not be revealed until the abomination of desolation (II Thessalonians 2:3&4). Any attempt to identify him before that time will be a complete waste of time. Consequently, until the abomination of desolation, the identity of the anti-Christ is left entirely to speculation. Which is, all too often, unreliable.
At any rate, as mentioned previously; we must be careful with our, or any speculation. We must never allow speculation and/or conjecture to take precedence over the written Word of the Living God.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
The third and final Fall festival is the Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:34 says; "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth of this seventh month (Tishri) is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD."
The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Festival of Sukkot. This feast is celebrated for 7 days, from the 15th of Tishri through the 21st. The word Sukkot is derived from the word Sukkah, which means a covered pavilion or booth.
God said in Leviticus 23:41-44; "You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD."
Very quickly, I want you to notice something. In verse 41, God once again says; "a perpetual statute throughout your generations;..." "Perpetual" means "forever." Do you think He still means "forever?" I think He does. But, again, I will leave that for you to pray about.
There are 3 prophetic themes taught in the celebration of the Festival of Tabernacles.
1. The birth of the Messiah.
Fulfilled with the virgin birth of Jesus.
2. The dedication of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.
This will be a future Temple which has not yet been built.
3. The coming Kingdom of the Messiah, which Christians understand to be the millennial reign of Messiah Jesus on earth
To be fulfilled with the 2nd coming of Messiah at the end of Daniels 70th week of years.
Concerning the birth of Messiah, there is evidence to show that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Specifically on the on the 15th of Tishri, 1 BC.
The calendar which we use today was established by a 6th century monk named Dionysis Exiguus. He made the distinction between BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini - In the year of our Lord) based upon the writings of Saint Luke, Eusebius and the Roman historical records that were available at that time.
He determined the birth of Messiah to be in the Roman year 74, and he later declared this to be the year 1 BC. The following year is acknowledged to be the year 1 AD. Though some feel the birth of Messiah was earlier (around 4 BC), recent discoveries show the calculations of Dionysis to be accurate.
Contrary to what many of us were taught in Sunday School, the fact that Mary and Joseph could not find room in the Inn was more likely because of all the people gathered near Jerusalem to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles rather than for the reason of Caesar Augustus census. Caesar probably took advantage of these festivals to take his census since everyone was going to be grandmas house for the holidays anyway.
Furthermore, it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in a stable. Evangelical Christianity "assumes" because Mary laid Him in a manger, He was born in a stable. And, that is not correct. Because, if all of the inns in town were full of travelers, the stables were full of their animals. Many scholars believe Jesus was born in the Sukkot the inn keeper had prepared for himself.
The 2nd and 3rd theme of the Festival of Tabernacles are; The dedication of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, and the millennial reign of the Messiah.
The dedication of the Temple of Solomon was, no doubt, during the feast of Tabernacles. God said in I Kings 8:1&2; "Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' households of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the city of David, which is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast (of Tabernacles), in the month Ethanim (which is the ancient month of Tishri), which is the seventh month."
The existence of a temple in Jerusalem is absolutely necessary for the prophecies to be fulfilled. And, it will also be necessary for a return to animal sacrifice near the time of the return of our Lord, Jesus.
The Bible clearly says the anti-Christ will defile the temple and end the sacrificing in the middle of Daniels 70th week. Therefore; no temple, no sacrificing, no fulfillment of prophecy. The temple must be rebuilt.
God tells Daniel in Daniel 9:27; "...he (the anti-Christ) will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;..."
God continues in II Thessalonians 2:4; "...who opposes and exalts himself (the anti-Christ) above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God (in the Holy of Holies within the Temple), displaying himself as being God."
This event, known as the abomination of desolation, signals the beginning of the latter half (the last 42 months) of Daniels 70th week of years and the beginning of "...great tribulation..." See Matthew 24:15&21.
Again, please remember, the term; "7 year tribulation" is not Biblical. You will not find this term, nor any reference to it in the Bible. Therefore, let us stick with the proper terminology which is found in the Holy Scriptures.
Following this "...great tribulation..." (Matthew 24:21) will come the outpouring of Gods wrath upon the wicked of the earth.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:29; "But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
When Jesus returns, we are told that He will enter the Temple grounds through the eastern gate, which still stands today. Even though it is kept closed by the hand of God (it is currently bricked up), it will be miraculously opened in time for Jesus return.
See what God said in Ezekiel 44:2; "The LORD said to me, This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it, for the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut."
Messiahs entry will cleanse the Temple of the anti-Christs desecration. And, once again the glory of the Lord will fill the Temple.
God went on to say in Ezekiel 43:4&5; "And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house."
Scripture also reveals the presence of a temple during the 1000 year millennial reign. God says in Zechariah 14:16; "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths."
The scripture is a prophetic timetable in which the Lord, Jesus is crowned King ("...and to anoint the most holy place"; Daniel 9:24). He will rule all the earth from Jerusalem, and people from every nation of the earth will worship Him and keep His feasts "in their seasons."
Those who fail to come to worship will reap punishment from God. Moreover, sacrifices of some sort will also be observed during the Millennium.
In Zechariah 14:17-21, the Lord, God says; "And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth DOES NOT go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt DOES NOT go up or enter (the new temple), then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who DO NOT go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, HOLY TO THE LORD. And the cooking pots in the LORD'S house will be like the bowls before the altar. Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day."
Even though there is so much more we can learn through a more in-depth study of the Festivals of the Messiah, what we have learned so far is still very interesting. And, to learn how God has designed them to foretell the coming of our Messiah Jesus.
For most Christians, this study is something new. Perhaps even a bit strange. Gentile believers can easily overlook these things. Especially when these things are not taught in most evangelical churches. Yet, the information has always been before us in Gods Word.
Could it be that we were not meant to understand their meaning until now? God said in Daniel 12:9; "He said, Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time."
It excites me to think about how close we may be to the conclusion of history as we know it. How close we may be seeing all Bible prophecies fulfilled. How close we may be to watching Messiah Jesus return in the clouds.
But, it is also a bit frightening to think about what lays ahead for the believer during Daniels 70th week of years. It is no small thing when we consider what it may be like living under the Nazi-type of rule the anti-Christ will impose on Gods people.
That is exactly why, I believe we should know the truth of what the Bible teaches, and prepare ourselves for whatever may come. And, if not for us, then we must teach the truth for the future generation that will see these things come to pass. We owe that to them, and to God.
With the passing of the new millennium, there was much excitement. Many people thought Messiah would come at the stroke of midnight on the year 2000. He did not. Many people thought all of our computer systems would crash and we would enter into the so-called seven year tribulation period. This did not happen, either.
This is exactly why we must be ever so careful when speculating on Bible prophecy. We must teach facts, and not what we would like to see happen. And, if we are speculating, say so in the narrative of your work, as I have tried to do.
As was shown, God promised Daniel there would be 490 years to bring about the end and to anoint the Most Holy. See Daniel 9:24. And, there still remains the last 7 years (Daniels 70th week of years) of the 490 years yet to be fulfilled.
For when Israel failed to anoint Jesus as their King and their Messiah, God reached out to the Gentiles, putting on hold the completion of the 70 week prophecy. Since that time, we have been waiting on the Divine plan of God, waiting for Him to start the final seven years of recorded history,...Daniels 70th week of years and the appearance of the anti-Christ.
And, when will this be? Again, I have no idea when this will occur. However, the Bible clearly says; Daniels 70th week of years will commence with the anti-Christ confirming the seven year covenant with Israel. See Daniel 9:27.
From that time there will be exactly seven years before the Lord returns. But, before His return, the earth will witness horrible things from the "...great tribulation..." of Gods people at the hand of the anti-Christ, as well as the coming wrath of God upon the wicked.
Many Christians disagree with the idea that the believers in Jesus will go through Daniels 70th week of years, or what is commonly (and erroneously) called the seven year tribulation period. They are convinced that God will not allow such a thing to happen to His children since God said in I Thessalonians 5:9; "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,..."
However, this "...great tribulation..." is the persecution of the believers in Jesus. Though I believe we will escape Gods wrath in the rapture, there is no evidence in Scripture to support the idea that Gods people will escape persecution from evil men, especially the anti-Christ. Once again, please read what Messiah told us in Matthew 24.
Jesus clearly teaches that persecution will come upon those who choose to follow Him. Jesus said in John 15:20; "Remember the word that I said to you, A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, THEY WILL ALSO PERSECUTE YOU; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also."
We are told to expect persecution. Preaching to the contrary is calling Jesus a liar and blasphemy.
Clearly, the Bible not only declares the presents of believers during this time of tribulation, but also reveals their suffering and dying under great persecution from "the beast". God said in the Revelation 13:7; "It was also given to him (the anti-Christ) to make war with the saints (believers) and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him."
They who do not worship the beast and take his mark are they whose names are written in the Lambs Book of Life. They are the persecuted. God goes on to say in Revelation 13:8; "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."
Moreover, this persecution is the precise reason that the Bible calls for patience and faith on the part of the believers. Once again, in Revelation 13:10, God said; "If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints."
As students of Gods Word, we must recognize, realize and understand the facts. Therefore, I say again: The Bible undoubtedly speaks of this time of tribulation as a time of extreme peril for Gods people, and not for the ungodly. It is the anti-Christ and his followers who enact torture and death in great abundance upon those believers who hold to the witness of Jesus.
This is supported with the words of God in Revelation 20:4; "Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
And, dont be surprised when those who will persecute you will claim to be Christians. Look at the words of Jesus in John 16:2; "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God."
Still dont believe me? Read the story of Paul before his conversion in Acts chapters 7,8&9.
As students of the Word, we must also understand that Gods wrath is reserved for the wicked of this world. God does not bring His wrath upon His own children. For those who are in Messiah are saved from the wrath of God. In Romans 5:9, God said; "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."
Therefore, just as Noah escaped the flood, Lot escaped the destruction and the children of Israel escaped Pharaoh in Egypt, so once more shall the believers in Messiah Jesus escape Gods wrath.
Once again, see Gods words in II Peter 2:9; "...THEN the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,..."
We must not confuse the tribulation on Gods people by the anti-Christ with the wrath of God upon the wicked. These are two very distinct events, even though they may occur very closely together in time.
And, be sure to keep in mind: each have their own purpose, each comes from a different source and the recipients of each are distinctively different. The following chart will illustrate what I mean.
1.) The persecution of the church (tribulation of Gods people).
Is inflicted upon Gods people, Jew & Gentile
Will be suffered at the hand of the anti-Christ
2.) Final judgement upon the wicked (the wrath of God).
Is inflicted upon those who reject Messiah Jesus
Will be suffered at the hand of God
I pray that you will not dismiss this study without serious prayer and study of your own. Go into Gods Holy Word, and allow the Spirit to lead you. Gods Word can, and does stand on its own if you do not read into it. Just take Gods Word for what it says. If you do, you will be more prepared to meet the trials and tribulations that will face Gods people in the future.
Now, for the Pre-Trib Believers Test. The answers are on the page following the test. So, have fun with this.
The Pre-Trib Believers Test
#1). Can you point to a direct scriptural reference that states Jesus could come at any moment and that no event or sign must come first? (Be very careful to consider the context here.)
#2). Can you point to a direct scriptural reference that states that the entire Olivet Discourse found in Matthew, chapter 24 is for the Jews only?
#3). Can you point to a direct scriptural reference that states Jesus return will be a two stage event?
A). A "spiritual" or "visible" return at the rapture of the church.
B). And then a "bodily" or "physical" coming at Armageddon.
#4). Can you point to a direct scriptural reference that states that the church will be raptured before the so-called "seven year tribulation" starts (Daniels 70th week of years)?
#5). Can you point to a direct scriptural reference that states that Gods wrath begins at the start of the "seven year tribulation" period?
#6) Can you point to a single scripture (book, chapter & verse) that says Jesus will come, or did come, and He brought us a substitute for Judaism?
Answers To The Pre-Trib Believers Test
Answer to #1 - No such scripture exists!
You may have something like; "No one knows the hour or the day" or "the Son of Man comes at an hour you do not expect." You must remember that these comments came on the heels of a long list of very specific events and signs that Jesus, Himself said would precede His return. His answer indicates that knowing the hour or the day and the element of surprise are not the same thing as a "signless" event. Furthermore, these comments referred back to Matthew, chapter 24, which is not pretribulational.
If you cited one of the many verses that Paul and the other New Testament writers give that exhibits a sense of "expectancy" for Jesus return, once again, it is important to recognize that none of these statements requires an "any moment" event. In fact, just as Jesus discourse in Matthew 24, the New Testament is filled with signs (prophesied events), and other indicators of the Second Coming. Expectancy does not require Jesus return to be signless.
Many prophecy teachers have attached an "any moment" and "signless" meaning to these scriptures. The fact is; these are interpretations that are not reflected in the truth of scripture.
Answers to #2 - No such scripture exists!
It is true that Jesus came for the lost sheep of Israel. But, His teachings throughout the gospels are fundamental to the church doctrine today. If we are going to throw out the Olivet Discourse as for the Jews only, then we must throw out the rest of the New Testament as well.
Also, keep in mind that the Jews to whom Jesus spoke included the disciples who had not rejected Him as the Messiah, as the rest of Israel did. Remember, all of the disciples were Jews. And it was these 12 disciples who became the root of the New Testament church. When Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, He was answering their question; "...Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" When Jesus spoke these words, He was not speaking to unbelieving Israel. He was speaking directly to the disciples, who were believers,...who were Jews.
Answer to #3 - No such scripture exists!
When the return of Messiah is mentioned in scripture, it is always mentioned as a singular event.
Answer to #4 - No such scripture exists!
Paul says; "For God hath not appointed us unto wrath,..." But, this is not the same thing as "we are not appointed to enter into Daniels 70th week of years." This is a huge leap of logic for which there is no scriptural evidence.
Answer to #5 - No such scripture exists!
The first time Gods wrath is mentioned in the Revelation of Saint John is at the end of the seal of judgements. Gods wrath is mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament as part of the Day of the Lord, which also starts at the end of the seal of judgements.
Answer to #6 - No such scripture exists!
Neither the Old Testament, nor the New Testament says "the Jews are out, and the Christians are in." Emperor Constantine in the 4th century BC said that, but not God.
As a matter of fact, in Romans 3:31, Paul says; "Do we then nullify the Law (the Torah) through faith (in Messiah Jesus)? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law."
Paul clearly teaches that Jesus affirmed the Law (Torah) through His very existence, and coming as the Messiah. He then said that if we love Him, we will obey His Torah (commandments), see John 14:15.
May Adonai richly bless you all, and
may Master Yeshua come soon!
Copyright © 2004
Steven W. Chumbley
All Rights Reserved