October 13, 2014 15:56 PM
Before beginning my new series I’d like to reprint this blog from last year about the Feast of Tabernacles, because once again my church is celebrating it. I love this feast. Every year our church celebrates it for eight days and nights. We are now in the fifth day. As I wrote last year, the Feast of Tabernacles is one of seven feasts of the Lord. It commemorates the time when the Jews wandered in the wilderness for forty years and literally tabernacled with God. But it’s so much more. It speaks prophetically of a time when Jesus will return and tabernacle with us here on earth, and set up His thousand year reign. Of course the Spirit of God already tabernacles with all true believers, but the Feast references the physical return of our Lord.
For eight days and nights we praise and worship the Lord. Dancers whirl around with their colored flags, as breathtakingly beautiful banners are paraded through the sanctuary declaring Jesus as “Soon Coming King,” “Lord of Lords,” and “Lion of Judah” making it easy to envision the splendor, or at least a small part of the splendor and pageantry and glory that will accompany the event that all Christendom awaits. And when I glimpse it, it creates such a longing in my heart it actually hurts. Scripture tells us that all creation groans for His return (Romans 8:22-23). I think all our hearts have groaned these past several days. I could see it on the faces around me. They groaned because there was such a sweet presence of the Lord in the sanctuary. And while it was wonderful, we knew it was but a foretaste of things to come, a foretaste when once again God will tabernacle with man, and we would have to wait. I was never good at waiting.
But the Feast does something else for me. It reminds me of the here and now, and how important it is to live life fully for the Lord. He is to be our number one priority followed closely by the people He has placed in our lives. He has a plan and purpose for each of us, and we have only one lifetime to get it right. We need to take this seriously because everyday we don’t, is a lost day.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God . . . And he had on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).
Oh, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Until next time,
September 23, 2014 16:17 PM
Ever heard of a Shemitah? Me either. That is, not until I listened to Jonathan Cahn, of The Harbinger fame, do a teaching on the “Mystery of the Shemitah”. Cahn spoke about how the Shemitah is an ancient Biblical year of the Sabbath, a time of blessing or judgment, depending upon how a person or even a nation honored or dishonored God. It is a seven year cycle, every seventh year being the Shemitah or Sabbath year. It was during a Shemitah year (2001) that the twin towers in NYC were destroyed. Seven years later (2008), according to the biblical Hebrew calendar and another Shemitah, we experienced a global economic crisis.
Now here we are facing another Shemitah year which will begin in just two days, September 25, 2014, and end September 13, 2015. During this time another curiosity will be added, two blood moons on Jewish Feast Days. In scripture these feasts are not called Jewish feasts but Feasts of the LORD. It is unusual to have four blood moons in a row that fall on Feasts days. One of the blood moons occurred five months ago (April 2014), another will take place in October 2015. The remaining two blood moons will actually take place during the Shemitah. Why is that important?
First, let’s consider the Feasts of the Lord. There are seven in all, and all prophetic. The first three have been fulfilled: 1) Passover = the death of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb 2) Unleavened Bread = the burial of Jesus and 3) First Fruits = the resurrection of Jesus. The fourth feast, Pentecost, is currently playing out. It began in an upper room when the Holy Spirit fell upon Jesus’ frightened disciples. It continues today as the “church age” but in the not too distant future this age will end. God is a God of order. His word is sure. His feasts were designed to give us an understanding of His future plans. So when the “church age” is finally over what’s next? We can know by understanding the three remaining feasts: Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles.
Many believe the Feast of Trumpets is when Jesus will return for his bride, the church. Millions and millions of people will vanish in an instant and the “church age” will be over. Then comes Atonement, the time of great tribulation; a time when the earth and all her inhabitants will be sorely tried and tested. And God’s judgment will be harsh. Then finally, Tabernacles, when Jesus returns to earth and sets up His kingdom, and thereby tabernacles with man.
So what does all this have to do with the Shemitah? Maybe nothing. But scripture tells us that God gave us the sun and moon and seasons (feasts) as signs. The next year, from September 2014 to September 2015 is already full of signs. What they foretell we will know soon enough. There is no point in guessing here. But this I do know, this is no time to be on the fence when it comes to our relationship with God. We need to fully commit and live our lives for Him.
Until next time,
June 9, 2014 15:42 PM
Jesus was full of comparisons. In Matthew 22:1-14 He compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet (see 6/2/14 blog post) then in Matthew 25:1-13 likens it to ten virgins. Only Jesus could do such a thing and make it work.
So what do we know about these ten virgins? Well, for one, “they took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.” But not all ten were equal. In fact five were wise and carried an extra flask of oil while the other five were foolish and did not. So when the bridegroom “was slow in coming” they all fell asleep and while they slept their lamps ran low of oil. Finally, when the shout announcing the arrival of the bridegroom is heard, they all quickly rise to tend their lamps. But the foolish virgins realize their oil won’t last and ask their wise counterparts to lend them some. Being sensible and intelligent, the wise virgins know if they share they wouldn’t have enough oil for themselves, so they promptly tell the foolish ladies to “go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves.”
And so off the five fools go, and while they are away the bridegroom comes. And here’s the sad part, “those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.” When the other five returned they couldn’t get in and cried, “Lord, Lord, open the door to us!” To which he replied, “I do not know you.”
The parable ends with the admonition to watch carefully and diligently for we don’t know “the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.”
So what does all this mean for us? It means that not everyone in the “church” (the virgins) will partake of the marriage feast. Those who are carnal and not guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit (the oil) will miss out. Remember what Jesus said about Laodicea? That lukewarm church that was neither hot nor cold? He said He would vomit it out of His mouth. Just because a person sits in a church pew every Sunday doesn’t mean he is a follower of Christ. Many will sadly realize that when the “door is shut.” But those who have accepted what Jesus, the bridegroom, did for them, His blood sacrifice, those who remain His disciples by following His word and living by it will enter into the feast.
I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture and I believer that this is just one of the many “types” and “shadows” speaking of it. It will be the true followers of Jesus that will enter into the marriage feast not those who merely fill a pew. But here is where God’s love and mercy comes in. Yes, I believe these carnal pew sitters will miss out in the rapture and have to go through the tribulation, but during the tribulation they can truly come to the Lord and by doing so will be with Him forever and throughout all eternity.
But my question is, “Why wait? Why go through the tribulation at all if we can be spared it by accepting Jesus NOW, by living for Him NOW, but being led by the Spirit and not our carnal nature NOW?
Truly, NOW is the time!
Until next week,
May 5, 2014 16:47 PM
Jesus didn’t want us to be ignorant of His future plans or the times in which He’d return so He gave us a string of events to watch for. In fact, He commands us to watch for them! “Watch, give strict attention, be cautious, active and alert!” (Mark 13:37 Amplified) And if He commands us to do this, then it must be possible to understand the signs of the times and the nearness of His coming.
It’s true that since the days of the apostles and many times since, believers in Jesus have expected His return. And because one blog can’t possibly do this subject justice, I’m forced to write in general terms so suffice it to say there has never been a time when the string of events Jesus spoke about have been so evident or so manifold.
What are some of the things Jesus told us to watch for? Here’s a list: 1) the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed – this happened in 70 A.D. 2) false Messiahs would come and mislead many 3) wars and rumors of war 4) nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom 5) earthquakes in various places 6) famines and calamities 7) persecution of believers 8) Gospel to be preached to all nations 9) believers arrested and tried and executed 10) Christians hated 11) The Anti-Christ will desecrate the new temple in Jerusalem 12) tribulation will occur the kind never seen since the beginning of creation 13) the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light 14) the heavens will be shaken 15) The Son of Man will come in the clouds in power and glory.
Jesus also gave us two other important clues: 1) We are to watch the fig tree and that “as soon as its branch becomes tender and it puts forth its leaves” we’ll know that the time for Jesus’ return is near. 2) And that this will all happen in one generation. So did the fig tree “put forth its leaves? Yes, in 1948 when Israel became a nation, for the fig tree in scripture represents the nation of Israel. Well, then, how long is a generation? How much more time do we have? Hard to say. Some claim a generation is 40 years, some say 70, while others say 120 and still others give different numbers. But the operative word here is “one.” One generation. It’s all going to come down to one generation, and that generation is the one that sees the fig tree blossom.
Well, we’ve seen it. Now what? Because we certainly haven’t seen all the signs Jesus spoke about. And one could even argue that many of these signs have been present throughout the ages: wars, famines, earthquakes. Yes. All true. But Mark 13:8 (Amplified) tells us that these wars and earthquakes and famines and false Messiahs are just the beginning of birth pangs. And here in is the answer. It’s not that these things in themselves herald the coming of Jesus, but like in any birth, when these labor pains become exponentially more and more severe then we’ll know time is running out. So have these things increased exponentially? The answer has to be, “Yes.” Almost every part of the globe is experiencing some form of war/terrorism/or rumors of war. Then there’s the weather. It’s going nuts, with extremes of everything, including earthquakes. Also Christians are being slaughtered around the world and false cult leaders abound. But what we have yet to see is massive global famine, the rise of a one-world government and its leader, the Anti-Christ, or the 7 years of tribulation the likes of which the world has never experienced. Nor have we seen the building of a new Jewish Temple and its desecrated, or the heavens shaken. But it’s coming my friends, and sooner than most expect.
So what now? Should we cower behind locked doors waiting for the “sky to fall in?” Of course not. But we shouldn’t be squandering our time on foolish pursuits, either, pursuits that have no eternal value. Rather we should try to live all out for the Lord and strive to fulfill our God-given destinies.
Time is short, my friends. Let’s use it wisely.
Until next time,
August 13, 2012 6:31 AM
Have you heard this one? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in addition to telling everyone he plans to wipe Israel off the face of the map, is, for the first time, telling his people to prepare for war—which he claims will be within the next 24 months—and to prepare for the end times. This doesn’t surprise me. But what does, is how few people are actually taking him seriously. They just don’t believe the guy. Is this history repeating itself? Wasn’t there a man named Adolph Hitler who not so long ago tried to conquer the world after ranting and raving about it for years? And wasn’t his ranting and raving ignored by most of the free world until it was too late? Then look what happened.
Personally, I’m weary of political correctness, that mindset that refuses to call a thing by its name. We need to start speaking the truth in love. What good is political correctness in the face of a world that might soon be in flames? It’s time to face the facts. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is serious. Why do I say that? Because, though he’s obviously a madman, he’s a religious madman, a deeply religious madman, and totally convinced he has been commissioned by Allah to bring forth the return of the Muslim Messiah, Mahdi, who supposedly will rule a globally Islamic-controlled world, and who, interestingly enough, resembles the Antichrist of Revelation. But first Ahmadinejad must annihilate Israel and bring chaos to the world (read war and destruction), and both of these he’s more than willing to do. The thing about religious zealots, no matter how misguided, is that they are sincere, and no amount of polite détente has the slightest chance of changing their minds. So if anyone thinks that Ahmadinejad will suddenly change his course just because a handful of heads of state congregate in a pleasantly furnished air-conditioned room, and smile and make-nice as they throw out a few half-hearted threats of more sanctions, you can forget about it.
“But what can we do?” you might ask. We can prepare. Get our spiritual house in order; and while we’re at it, our financial one as well, because when this happens it could change the face of the world by starting a cataclysmic chain of nuclear wars. Does this sound farfetched? I hope not. Does it sound like scare tactics? I hope not. But what I hope it does is show that the time for pussyfooting is over. We, as Christians, need to open our eyes and really see what is happening in the world, and then prepare ourselves so we can help others when the time comes.
We must also choose sides. Israel is already hated. And whether Israel strikes Iran before they can further harden their nuclear facilities or whether Iran strikes them first in the next 24 months, it is sure to start a serious Middle East conflict for which Israel will undoubtedly receive the lion’s share of the world’s scorn. And we, Christians, need to stand up and be counted on their behalf. God clearly promised Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him (Genesis 12:3). Let me say this as clearly as I can: anti-Semitism, whether in the Church or out, is demonically inspired. It is not Godly, but a malevolent force that has been trying to destroy the people of Israel for centuries. It would serve us well to remember that the Jews are the covenant people of God, the very bloodline of the Son of Man. So will the Church stand when the time comes? Or will it do what it did so often when that other madman tried to set up his Third Reich?
I only pray the former.
Until next time,
April 23, 2012 11:54 AM
In the eternal sphere, something terrible happened in the heavens. A rebellion of unimaginable scope disrupted God’s perfect order. Things were obviously said about His nature and character, His motives, perhaps even His fitness and right to rule when one-third of the angles shook off His authority. Under the leadership of Satan, this horde struck out on their own with the intention of bringing down God’s rule because Satan obviously believed he could run things better. The Book of Enoch and Jubilees and Jasher all give a sense of just how old this ancient conflict between good and evil is.
So what was God to do? He could easily have struck down the rebels with a flick of a finger or clamped them in irons. After all, they were created beings. His created beings. But that would still leave the swirl of accusations, begun by the Accuser, to possibly foment another rebellion among those angels still loyal.
A definite predicament. How to, once and for all, extract justice for the crime perpetuated against Him and His kingdom, while at the same time illustrate His true loving character and lay rest all those lies and accusations circulating about Him? His plan was brilliant, magnanimous, and terrifying all at once. He would create time, a set span of minutes and hours in which he would unfold His plan and display His true nature, and thus repair the torn fabric of His kingdom. Indeed, we see in Genesis 1:1 where it states “In the beginning, God . . . .” In the beginning of what? Since eternity has no beginning, it obviously means the beginning of time, the beginning of the present age. And what did He do in this “beginning”? He created the heavens and earth for the first time, then recreated them again in Genesis 1:2 for the second time. Since God never creates anything that is void and without form, many Bible scholars believe there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, and that the first world was destroyed sometime after Satan’s rebellion. I think it’s a plausible scenario.
Then God created man, and gave him the charge to replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28) again alluding to the fact that this earth on which man now walked was a recreation. And God did all this while allowing Satan to continue fomenting rebellion, and while knowing that man, too, would sin and need a savior. And God did it all knowing that He Himself was to be the remedy and that it would come at a great cost. Revelation 13:8 talks about the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth,” showing God’s foreknowledge not only of man’s original sin but also of what God’s intended solution would be.
Thus, we are all living in a timeline, a timeline set by God, Himself, and one that will last only until His full plan is accomplished. So where are we on this timeline, now? According to the Bible, very little remains to be fulfilled. It seems that more and more commentary is coming out about it every day: the rapture of the church, the rise of the antichrist, the one world government and monetary system, the seven year tribulation, the return of Jesus.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that time is running out. It’s running out for Satan, for us, for the world systems. And at its end, God will have put to rest all questions of His character, His nature, His love and kindness, His fairness, His patience and long suffering. No angel, no demon, no man, no woman will be able to cast doubts about Him again, for all He will have to do is point to the corridor of time as His witness. And then there will be a clear divide between those who love Him and those who don’t. And that divide will remain forever as, once again, things revert back to eternity.
Until next week,
June 27, 2011 17:44 PM
It’s not surprising that the last valley alluded to in the Bible (and the last valley I’ll discuss in my blogs) is so like the first two valleys in Genesis—the valley of rebellion and the valley of war and strife. It tells me man is incapable of governing himself without God.
We come across our last valley in the book of Revelation where it talks about Armageddon and what happens there. Armageddon is the hill overlooking the Valley of Megiddo or Megiddone and both mean “to gather, or rendezvous.” It is also known as the Valley of Jazreel, Valley of Decision, and Valley of Jehosaphat—which means “God will judge” (although beginning in the fourth century A.D. some claim the Valley of Jehosaphat is between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, which is currently a cemetery in a ravine—hardly the place for the nations of the world to gather.)
But Megiddo is vast; a natural battleground that has been the scene of dozens of battles over the centuries. It is the rendezvous place where God will judge the nations, and both Joel and Revelation tell us why:
“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they had scattered among the nations and parted my land. . . let the heathen be wakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about . . . Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision; for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” Joel 3:2, 12, 14
“And he (God) gathered them together (for judgment) into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” Revelation 16:16. The nation’s armies have gathered here to destroy Israel; “to wipe it off the face of the map,” or so they think. But God has allowed them to gather in order to render His judgment.
At this time, the whole world will not only be against Israel, but will be in rebellion against God and following the demonic leader the Bible calls “Antichrist”. For both these things God will judge them.
What’s scary is this: events are already taking shape. Increasingly, the world is turning its back on Israel. And world leaders are pressuring Israel to give up its land for peace. They are in essence trying to part God’s land. And as global disruptions and financial disasters deepen, more and more people will be receptive to a world leader who promises to solve these problems.
So . . . are we marching toward the Valley of Decision? I believe so.
Until next week,