Sunday, July 27, 2014

Are You Girded?

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; “and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.  Luke 12:35-37  NKJV

I have said before, ask one hundred believers if it is important to follow God’s commandments and one hundred will probably say yes.  Yet ask those same one hundred if they are watching for Christ’s return and believe His return is imminent and  I’m willing to wager you would be fortunate to find ten who are following God’s commandment to watch.  Too pessimistic?  Unfortunately that conclusion is a result of what I have observed over the years as I have taught on the subject of Christ’s return and the importance of watching while living our lives with the expectation of His coming for the Church.

In this passage from Luke, Jesus explains what we are expected to do, and the benefit we will receive if we choose to do so.  His desire for us can be summed up in just four words; working, waiting, watching, rewarded.  Today I want to briefly look at these expectations in order to better understand what our Lord wants from us.

Working; “Let your waist be girded”.  Most of us have seen pictures or images of the way people dressed in Jesus’ time, and in truth, some in the Middle East still do.  Generally speaking, you wore an undergarment covered by an outer garment of long, usually ankle length flowing material.  If one was to engage in physical labor, the common practice was to “gird” your outer garment around your waist to facilitate the ease of movement while working.  When Jesus tells us to “gird”, there are two results which become apparent.  One, we are prepared to do His work, and second, anyone who sees us will know we are working because we are dressed for it.  Our work is summed up nicely in this passage from Peter, who also uses the word “gird”.

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:13-16  NKJV

Waiting; “ and your lamps burning”.  If we are instructed to wait with our lamps burning, it follows that it is possible to wait without our lamp burning.  Obviously it does no good at all to be waiting with a lamp that is not lit because you can’t see who is coming, and they certainly can’t see you.  First of all, when our spiritual lamp is lit, not only will we be looking for our Lord to appear, we will recognize the events which signify He is near.  Secondly, because our lamp is lit, others will see the light and we will have an opportunity to glorify God by sharing the reason we are watching and waiting.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16  NKJV

Watching; “be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately”.
I have always been somewhat amused by discussions concerning the question of will we know when the rapture will occur?  My response has always been that why would Jesus spend so much time, and give so many illustrations concerning watching, if He did not intend to allow us to see and recognize the time of His appearing?  Understand I am not saying it is possible to predict the day it will happen, but rather if we are watching and waiting for His return, just like these men waiting for their master to come, we will see Him coming for us.  Have you never been watching for a friend or relative to come for a visit?  Do you not see them arrive and open the door and go out to greet them?  That is what Jesus is telling us here, and I firmly believe that any believer who is faithfully watching for our Master to come, will see Him as He appears and not be at all surprised when He does.

“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—“lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”  Mark 13:33-37  NKJV

Rewarded; “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.”  Is this not the ultimate role reversal?  Instead of the servants serving the master, as a reward for watching diligently for His return, the Master assumes the role of the servant and rewards His servants by serving them at the feast.  Can you picture in your mind the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Savior, sitting us down in Heaven at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and then girding up His royal robes and serving us our first meal in Heaven?  I can see many of us feeling exactly as Peter did when Jesus went to wash his feet and protesting that He should not do it.  Yet this is exactly the reward Jesus has promised we will receive if we follow His commandment to watch for His return.  There is, however, an alternate reward for those who do not.

knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.            2 Peter 3:3-7  NKJV

As believers, servants of God the Father, we have been commanded to watch for His appearing.  We do that by girding ourselves to work, to wait, to watch, and ultimately to receive our reward.  I don’t know about you, but I choose to watch.

Keep watching.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Troubling Times

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.      2 Thessalonians 2:1-2  NKJV

I find this passage of scripture interesting in that with all that is going on in the world today, some are repeating the same error the Thessalonians were making during their time of trouble.  The question many watchers have had over the years is just how much are we going to see and experience before Jesus returns to take us home to be with Him?  As things get progressively worse, and wars and rumors of wars take center stage, it is possible some might believe we have already entered the seventieth week of Daniel.  That is just what the Thessalonians were thinking, and so today I thought I would look back at this blog from a few years ago which seems rather relevant considering the situation we find ourselves in today.

As we look at the passage from Thessalonians, I'm going to use a tool I came up with that I use when I study the scriptures. I call it the rule of three w's. What, why, and whow. ( Yes, I know, whow is misspelled but it's easier to remember the rule of three w's than two w's and an h!  Remember I teach high school students; it works, trust me. )

So what is the problem in the church at Thessalonica? Paul tells us immediately in verse 1 that the subject of the letter is about the rapture ( parousia ) of the Church when Jesus comes to take us home to be with Him. Then, according to verse 2, Paul says they were "shaken" and "disturbed". This is one of those times where I think it's really important to look closely at the meaning of the words Paul uses. Shaken is saleuō in the Greek and means "agitate" or become "insecure" in mind. Disturbed is throeō in the Greek and means "clamor" or "tumult". So the picture Paul gives us is that the believers in the church are in an uproar, really agitated because they have become insecure in something they believed, but now have doubts about, and obviously it has to do with the rapture. Paul then identifies the reason at the end of verse 2 when he refers to someone claiming by "spirit, message, or letter" that the day of the Lord had already come.

This brings us to the why question. Why were they so shook up? This is the part I think gets missed most often when studying this passage of scripture. They were shook up because they had been told by someone that the tribulation had already begun, and they had missed the boat! They were still on earth! This passage is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. You see, if Paul hadn't taught the pre-tribulation rapture, these folks wouldn't be all shook up now would they? They were in an uproar because they were under the impression Paul had taught them wrong, or they had done something wrong to get left behind. You see, at the time of this letter, the Church was undergoing persecution from Rome and it was easy for people to believe that the bad things they saw happening all around them fit the picture of events that take place during the Tribulation. Unfortunately, all it took to shake them up was someone to suggest that their belief in the pre-tribulation rapture was wrong. So it's up to Paul to set them straight again.

Whow does Paul go about doing this? Simple really. He just reviews the main points he taught about Jesus' return when he started the church, and then later in his first letter. What Paul chooses to "re-teach" is this. One, he differentiates between "the mystery of lawlessness" and "the man of lawlessness". The mystery of lawlessness is the evil in this world produced by Satan and his angels. The man of lawlessness is the coming world leader, or anti-christ, who will be revealed at the beginning of the tribulation. Paul makes the point that although evil forces were at work already, they are being held in check by "he who now restrains".

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.                                               2 Thessalonians 2:6-7  NKJV

We know that Paul is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit, alive in the hearts of believers today, and I like how Paul gently reminds these believers that they too "know" what is restraining. Paul goes on to say that even though the works of evil were occurring, the man of lawlessness had yet to appear, and could not appear until the Church had been "taken out of the way".

How often do we too need to be "reminded" of what we have already been taught, yet somehow begin to forget or doubt? I know I'm guilty of that, so I sure can't get down on these poor folks. I'm sure there are plenty of believers today who may be in the same position those in the church at Thessalonica. We see all the terrible things going on in the world around us, events we know are the signs Jesus said would occur at the end of the age, and I'm sure there are those saying we have already entered the tribulation period. But you know something, we can't have entered the tribulation because as Paul so simply said, the church is still here!

Evil is present, but so are we; the Church, the body of Christ. There is no doubt in my mind that we are as close to leaving this world as we can possibly be. If you find yourself in the same position as those believers back then, the best advice I can give you today is the same advice Paul gave the Thessalonica church:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.                2 Thessalonians 2:15-17  NKJV

He is coming soon.

Keep watching.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Feeling the Heat?

I wrote this article a few years ago, but considering all that we have been discussing lately, and especially looking and watching the events in Israel right now, I thought it appropriate to revisit the subject of “the dog days of summer”.  Of all of the reports coming out of Israel right now, the most concerting to me personally was a report two days ago that two long range missiles were fired at the nuclear power plant at Dimona. Exactly what the outcome of the current conflict between Israel and its enemies will be I cannot say, however as we all know, the Word of God tells us that one day it will culminate in the beginning of the end.  Add to that the fact, as we have already discussed, the Ninth of Av is only three weeks away.  Seems like a good time to “keep watching”.

"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. "So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near--at the doors.      Mark 13:28-29 NKJV

I find it surprising when so many ask me why I choose to study and teach on prophecy when there are so many portions of scripture like this one from Mark that make it clear what Jesus expects from us. I try to explain to those who question that this is not merely a suggestion from God, but a command repeated over and over again. As such, I try to get the point across that if God commands us to watch, it is because He intends to show us signs that we will recognize as harbingers of the end of this age. One of the points I have often contemplated concerning this passage is if it is possible God is giving us a clue as to when the rapture would occur when He chooses to use the season of summer in this passage.

As I considered that, I also was reminded of something I realized back in the day when I was a history major in college. Do you know the vast majority of conflicts and wars this world has seen have started during the summer months? My point? I just wonder if the conflict that God reveals in His Word concerning the future of Israel and the world, taken along with His command to watch with a reference to the season of summer, should be a major clue to those of us who choose to obey His command to watch? Something else to consider is what we discussed last week concerning Israel and their three weeks of national mourning which began yesterday and culminate with the fast on the ninth of Av. Could it be that Jesus is suggesting to us through the passage in Mark that we should be especially watchful during the summer?

The term “dog days of summer” is probably familiar to most, yet many are probably not aware of what it means or of it's origin. Actually, the answer to that question is hazy and debatable, while some believe it may date back as far as the Roman Empire. As to what it might mean, let me make a suggestion based solely on my own observations and experiences. One, like most people I have a dog. I also live in a part of the country which experiences summers which tend to occasionally receive triple digit heat late in the season. I have had occasion to notice my dog gets just a little testy during these days of excessive heat, exhibiting a marked lack of patience and a tendency to growl and lash out when disturbed. A funny thing though, I have also noticed here and there that people tend to do the same thing as well.

As I have watched and waited for the return of our Lord I have noticed that we as believers are not immune to the same feelings of impatience and irritability that are a common occurrence in this life. A large part of my watching revolves around research which necessitates visiting a large number of websites and reading commentaries, blogs, and letters by other believers who have answered the call to watch. In the past few years as seasons, watch days, prospective rapture dates, etc. come and go I would have to say it appears that the collective mood of the body displays an increasingly impatient, sometimes argumentative and discouraged appearance.

Now the upside to this is that it is obviously a sign that the body is anxiously awaiting the rapture and the longer we wait the greater the relief when it occurs, but we also need to guard our hearts from allowing the disappointment that we are still here from manifesting itself in actions which hurt our witness to others, as well as dividing the body according to positions we might hold because of our individual opinions on doctrinal issues. I think this is exactly what Paul had in mind when he wrote the following verse.

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,      Romans 15:5 NKJV

In this letter to the church at Rome, Paul gives instructions concerning how believers should relate to one another in chapters fourteen and fifteen. I think it's very instructive that when talking about this subject, of all the attributes Paul could choose to describe our Father he chooses “patience and comfort” to show us exactly what we need to imitate in order to achieve harmony with each other. Especially helpful to me is the definition of “like-minded” that we find mentioned here. It is the Greek word phroneō, which basically means that although we might have an opinion, it is more important to strive for harmony rather than arguing to the point of causing division.

For many the disappointment of still being here can lead to discouragement which is an open door to the feelings we have talked about, yet we do have a reason to be encouraged about the situation we find ourselves in. In this passage from his letter to the Corinthian church Paul gives us some instructions we can use to combat the “dog days” we seem to be experiencing.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward [man] is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen [are] temporary, but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.                                2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV

Paul says we need not be discouraged because every day we are being “renewed” whether or not we realize it. The word for renewed means we are given new strength and the best way I can see to receive that is to keep looking ahead towards what we know is the promise of things to come. We are also told we are being prepared by enduring what is described as a “light affliction”. Now I'm sure many of us might not see it that way but notice also that Paul tells us that the affliction is for a “moment” and is not going to last forever. The end will eventually come and when it does, we will finally see that the eternal was worth what we endured while here. The best way I know to avoid discouragement is to focus on the finish, and not the race or we will stumble and lose heart.

When the time came for me to make the transition to running distance races instead of sprints I received some of the best practical advice from my coach that is extremely relevant to this passage. He told me before my very first race that I should concentrate on running my race and to ignore everybody else. The reason became clear at the start when everybody else disappeared in a cloud of dust and I was left alone running at the pace I had trained for. I could easily have become discouraged but I kept running my race and thinking about the finish. Imagine my surprise when at about the three mile point I came around a corner and saw all those runners I thought were long gone just in front of me.

As believers we are not immune to the emotions living in this world can produce, especially when someone turns up the heat. Impatience and discouragement are tools Satan uses to cause us to stumble, but by focusing on the promises from God which we have concerning what lies ahead we can overcome the emotions that come when we feel the heat.

Keep watching.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"When Will These Things Be?"

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  Matthew 24:3  NKJV

When a believer understands that Jesus commanded us all to watch for the signs of His return and they begin to apply themselves by studying what we are taught to look for, most often the question of the possibility of knowing “when will these things be” begins to appear in their hearts and minds.  As Jesus’ disciples show us here, there is nothing wrong with being curious about this and in fact, it is a natural reaction to being told that there will be an end to all things.  While I am convinced that the Bible does not reveal exactly when the events we have been discussing will occur, I believe strongly that there are clues we can use that will help us construct a possible timeline which will help us to be on the alert as Jesus commanded us to be.

I want to state plainly that I am not a prophet, nor am I trying to reveal anything other than what I and many others have learned from studying the scripture.  I am not setting any kind of dates or making any predictions other than sharing with you what I personally believe is a likely timeline for the unfolding of the events we have discussed in the past few weeks.  That said, in a short review, my personal belief for the order of events the Bible reveals will occur during the end times is this; the Rapture, the Destruction of Damascus found in Isaiah 17, the Gog Magog conflict of Ezekiel 38-39, the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week, the Abomination of Desolation three and one half years later, Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ another three and one half years later, and finally the Millenial Reign of Christ to follow.

Once I arrived at this conclusion, it was a natural step to examine the scriptures to see if there were any clues as to when these events would occur.  I was fascinated to discover that it is entirely possible that each of them, in one way or another, are referred to in light of what time or season of the year they might take place.  While maybe not definitive, when you take all of them together and lay them out in order, a timeline appears that is certainly feasible in light of what is revealed in scripture.  So here then is my conclusion as to not only the order, but possible timeline for these things to be.

A Summer Rapture

Woe is me!  For I am like those who gather summer fruits, Like those who glean vintage grapes; There is no cluster to eat Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires. The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.           Micah 7:1-2  NKJV

I should make it clear here that I am a firm believer in the doctrine of immanency, and  I believe the Bible makes it clear that the rapture of the Church could happen at any time.  That does not mean, however, that there might not be a clue in the Word as to the season in which it might occur.  We asked the question a few weeks ago about just what this world would look like when the restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is removed from the earth at the rapture.  Most of us are familiar with the observation of the philosopher Edmund Burke when he said “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.  Well, what happens when, according to this passage, there are no faithful men?  Every man is against his own brother, and evil is rampant on the earth.  Talk about all that is necessary to create the “perfect storm” of evil, God simply removes His Church along with the Holy Spirit and there is nothing left to fight against Satan and his forces. 

Since history has shown that Satan’s priority is the destruction of Israel, what do you think he tries to do first?  Does this passage from Micah refer to the rapture of the Church?  I think it entirely possible considering the description it gives as to what the world looks like with the absence of the faithful.  I also believe it is reasonable to consider a summer rapture when the most likely day for an attack of this nature is on Israel’s national day of mourning.

A Day of Mourning; the Destruction of Damascus

“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?  Zechariah 7:5  NKJV

This scripture refers to the fast of the fifth month, which is observed on the ninth of Av on the Jewish calendar and it usually coincides with either late July or August on our western calendar.   Many believers are familiar with this day as it is the one day in the year where so many tragedies have occurred to the Jewish people throughout their history beginning with the report of the twelve spies in the book of Numbers and many, many others continuing to this day.  If you were to consider the question of when the nation of Israel would come under attack by weapons of mass destruction, it would be hard to ignore the possibility of something of that magnitude occurring on the very day in Israel’s history when so many other national tragedies have taken place.  Isaiah 17 also makes it clear that although justified in their response, the rest of the world takes a dim view of what Israel does.  This of course leads them to think about, and plan a response which many if not most believe is the attempted invasion of Gog.  I believe it only takes the relatively short time of three to four months to come up with their “evil plan.”

A Hannukah Gift; God Defeats Gog

‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid—consider it:     Haggai 2:18  NKJV

And again the word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots And those who ride in them; The horses and their riders shall come down, Every one by the sword of his brother.                Haggai 2:20-22  NKJV

In his book Armageddon, Appointment With Destiny, author Grant Jeffrey does a masterful job of examining and explaining all of the feasts and fasts of the nation of Israel.  In his book he devotes an entire chapter called “Russia’s Day of Destruction in Israel” to the Gog Magog conflict where he not only answers virtually every question someone might have about the identity of the invading force, he also speculates as to the timing of the conflict.  By comparing the language describing what occurs, and especially God’s response to the invading force, he comes to the conclusion that this passage from the prophet Haggai most likely is referring to the Ezekiel 38,39 prophecy.  It is also his conclusion that by referring specifically to the twenty fourth day of the ninth month, God is telling us exactly when these events will occur.  This day, the twenty fourth of Chisleu on the Jewish calendar, is the day before Hanukkah, which normally occurs in late November or December on our calendar.  I think it is entirely possible that the space of time between the Ninth of Av and the day before Hanukkah is more than sufficient for the planning and assembling of the forces of Magog by Gog.  How special would this Hanukkah be for all of Israel to awaken to find the entire invading force has been slain, not by their own might, but by the power of God the Father?

Peace on Rosh HaShanah?

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;  Daniel 9:27a

How long has the world waited for peace between Israel and its enemies?  At times many would believe that peace is an impossibility given the lack of success in coming to any type of an agreement.  It is with this in mind that it doesn’t bother me a bit to think that it takes nine months before the antichrist confirms a covenant.  I also believe it is telling to notice the word God chooses to use in this prophecy.  The word translated confirm, in the Hebrew is gabar; which means “to enforce or prevail”.  Now I ask you; does that sound like a mutually agreed peace?  It would seem to me that Israel’s enemies are somehow forced to abide by this agreement by the antichrist without really wanting to.  I chose Rosh HaShanah as the day this peace begins for two reasons.  The first reason is that many if not most scholars believe the last three feasts of Israel in the fall are prophetic as to the second coming of Christ.  Since the seventieth week of Daniel is exactly seven years in length, it logically begins and ends about the same time.  I also am intrigued by the use of the trumpet on Rosh HaShanah.  The last sounding of the trumpet on this feast day is called the Tekia shofar.  Throughout Israel’s history, it has been described as a long blast signaling victory or good news.  What better news would Israel want to celebrate than knowing peace with their enemies has finally been accomplished?  

Abomination in the Spring?

But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”        Daniel 9:2

Obviously it follows that if we place the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week in the fall, the middle of the week which is three and one half years later will occur in the spring.  In fact, not only will it occur in the spring, it will arrive during the spring feasts of Israel.  If you recall, it was during this time that Jesus entered Jerusalem and told the religious leaders of the day that He was the Son of God.  When it comes to prophecy in the Bible, I make it a point to never believe in coincidence.  It seems to make perfect sense that the antichrist will choose the exact same time to stand in the temple and proclaim himself to be God.  History will repeat itself as his claim will be rejected by many resulting in the antichrist reacting in anger towards those who reject him. It is now that the final three and one half years of Daniel’s seventieth week begin, and by declaring war on the nation of Israel the antichrist plunges the world into the period of time which Jesus called the Great Tribulation, and God called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.  The antichrist’s attempt to destroy the nation of Israel will only lead him to destruction, but in the process involve the entire world in a war that is not only unwinnable, but leads directly to where God has arranged the final outcome to occur.

Armageddon and the Second Coming in the Fall?

Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say: “Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry, ‘Gather together,’ And say, ‘Assemble yourselves, And let us go into the fortified cities.’ Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction.”                                   Jeremiah 4:5-6  NKJV

Here we are, seven years after the covenant of peace between Israel and its enemies right back where we started and notice again the reference to blowing a trumpet.  Is Jeremiah telling us that Armageddon and Jesus return to Jerusalem occurs on Rosh HaShanah?  I believe that he is, but only time will tell if this is the correct interpretation.  Yet considering the fact that God has told us specifically that the seventieth week of Daniel would be two thousand five hundred and twenty days in length, broken up into two halves with each being twelve hundred and sixty days, and that there are just coincidently twelve hundred and sixty days between Passover and Rosh HaShanah, I think it’s a safe assumption God wanted us to know this was when these things would occur.  Of course, as I said, I could be wrong, however we should also consider that there are two more appointed feasts that closely follow during this month, and the prophetic implications they provide give support to our conjectured timeline.  Ten days after RoshHaShanah comes Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  This day is considered to be the holiest day on the Jewish calendar for it is on this day that they were commanded to mourn for their sins.  It was also on this day, the only day of the year, when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of sacrifice before the Mercy Seat of God.  It certainly seems appropriate that now that the Great Tribulation is over Israel will stand before their God and mourn for their sin.

Millenial Reign Begins on Tabernacles

And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be— “The LORD is one,” And His name one.  Zechariah 14:9  NKJV

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.                  Zechariah 14:16  NKJV

The next, and last Feast day on the Jewish calendar arrives just five days later when Israel celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles.  This was the day in Israel’s history when Solomon’s Temple was dedicated and the Ark of the Covenant finally had a permanent resting place.  Many also believe that this day was in fact the day of Jesus’ birth, and there are several good reasons to believe that.  One is that in the book of John we are told that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.  Just coincidently, the Greek word for “dwelt” is “tabernacle”.  It certainly seems fitting that Jesus assumes His throne in the New Jerusalem on the same day He first arrived.

My purpose in sharing all of these things with you is to hopefully stimulate you to watch with the intensity I believe God wants from all of us when He commanded us to watch for all of these things.  It has always troubled me that if you were to ask one hundred believers if they felt it was important to follow all of God’s commandments one hundred would say yes of course.  Yet ask those same one hundred if they are watching for Christ’s return and I suggest the number who would reply yes would appall you.  As I said before, I am not trying to predict the future here, but all that we have talked about in the past few weeks has already been told to us by the Father through His prophets in His Holy Word.  It is, and has always been, up to us to diligently search the scriptures to “find out whether these things were so”.

If you have never taken the step of asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart and save you from eternity without Him, I encourage you to do that right now.  Simply tell Him you are sorry for your sin, ask Him to forgive you, and accept the sacrifice He made to die for your sin, and He has promised not only to forgive you but to make you one of His own and come into your life and provide all the help you need to begin to live for Him.  I am convinced His return is much closer than we may think.

Keep watching.