Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Season to Watch

Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son."  Genesis 18:14 RSV

Do you have a favorite season?  I somehow manage to enjoy all of them for one reason or another, but if I had to pick one for my favorite, it would be the spring.  Just now, I can see a little bit of snow left on the mountain tops, my tulips blooming, and quail, songbirds, robins and doves eating out of my feeder. I like to call spring the time of new beginnings, because so much happens in so short of a time. I can watch buds appearing on my apple tree, the robins have returned from wherever it is they go in the winter, the ground is turning green, and of course, it’s about time to start mowing the lawn again.

As I have studied over the years, I have found that God ordained many events to occur in the spring as well. It is especially interesting to see how many of those events could be identified with the idea of a new beginning. In the passage above, God has visited Abraham and Sarah and told them that Sarah was to have a son. He also tells them that He will return to see them when that happens, and even tells them that it will be in the spring! If you look closely at the Hebrew you will find that in this particular case, the RSV translates it best, because if you take the two words mowed and chay together in the same phrase, you understand spring is identified as the season this event will occur.

mow`ed : 1) appointed place, appointed time, meeting

chay : 1) living, alive, a) green (of vegetation), b) flowing, fresh (of water), c) lively, active (of man), d) reviving (of the springtime)

Since Abraham is told he would become the father of the nation of Israel, the birth of Isaac began the fulfillment of that prophecy and as we see, it began in the spring.

We also find in the book of Exodus that the deliverance of the nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt occurred in the spring. The first three feasts of Israel, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits all occur in the first month on the Jewish calendar which normally begins around the end of March or the beginning of April on our calendar, and is called Nisan or Abib.

And Moses said to the people: "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. "On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.   Exodus 13:3,4 NKJV

Of course, of greater interest to us as believers is the fact that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred at the time of these three feasts as well. If you recall, Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples, was then arrested, crucified and  rose again on the third day which was the Feast of Firstfruits.

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."   Matthew 26:1,2 NKJV

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.   Matthew 28:1,2 NKJV

Now you talk about the idea of spring being a time of new beginnings, how important could the fact be that our deliverance occurred in the spring? Do you really think so many events happening in the spring are just coincidence? If you still think it may be, why not look at another event that is certainly significant to all believers. Just fifty days after the resurrection, on the Feast of Pentecost, something else rather important happened as well; the birth of the Church.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Acts 2:1,2 NKJV

Do you begin to see what I mean about the spring being the most interesting season? The Bible is full of “new beginning” type events which occur in the spring. Is it possible then that the rapture of the church could occur in the spring season? If it did, it would certainly fit in with the idea of a new beginning type event happening the same time as so many others have.  

Why bring up the subject of the rapture of the Church?  Let’s return to the story of the Exodus for a moment. The thought occurred to me that we are told of deliverance along with a new beginning in the story of the children of Israel and their escape from Egypt. Not only were they delivered out of bondage in the spring, notice if you will when they entered the promised land.

And it came to pass, when the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet touched the dry land, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before. Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.   Joshua 4:18,19 NKJV

Here we are again! Back to the first month, the spring, the time of new beginnings. God delivered the children of Israel into the Promised Land on the tenth day of the first month. Is it possible this is also a picture of when the church will enter her “promised land”? Could spring be the season of the rapture?  Although I believe our deliverance could occur at any time, considering the fact that so many events have happened in the spring certainly makes me wonder if we as believers should be especially watchful in the spring.  Which brings us to this next passage which might be the most compelling argument of all.

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

This passage from the prophet Micah describes the period of time we call the tribulation.  Notice he tells us that all the faithful have disappeared from the earth, every man is against each other, and looking for upright faithful people is like looking for the first grapes of the harvest and finding none.  So when does the grape harvest begin in Israel?  The first ripe fruit is gathered at the beginning of summer.  My thought is that if all the faithful are gone at the beginning of summer, they must have disappeared in the spring.

Today we find ourselves in the spring season, and many are looking at the condition of the world around us and asking the question why are we still here? My question to you today is this.  Just how close do you believe the rapture of the Church is on God’s calendar?  If you believe like many others, it could be right around the corner. That nearness, however, also prompts me to ask you this question. If you have come to this point in your life and not made a decision to accept the free gift of salvation offered to you by our Savior Jesus Christ, don't you think it would be a good idea to do it now?

Keep watching.